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handokrhombus6lozenge4piscessquare6scorpiolozenge4lozenge4 book snowflakescorpiovirgoaquariussquare6box3circle6box3capricornescape May 22, 2009
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New bank
on the rise
Potential investors listen to bank proposal.
BY LEONARD NOVARRO and its board reflect the diversity of the communi-
Special to ASIA
ty it serves. Among them: entrepreneur Ditas
Yamane and insurance specialist Willie Racellis,
Starting a bank in this economy is like trying to
both former presidents of the Filipino American
reach the top of Pikes Peak on a motor scooter.
Chamber of Commerce; attorney Audie de
But aiming high is what a small group of
Castro, former president of the Asian Business
investors, mostly from the Filipino community of
Association of San Diego County, and local busi-
San Diego’s South Bay, is doing in opening up the
ness leaders Tomo B. Garcia and Alex Carolino,
first state-chartered bank in National City.
chairman of the board, who opened the meeting.
“We believe the time is right for a community
The board of directors also includes Nicholas
bank to serve this marketplace,” said Rick
Inzunza, former mayor of National City; Edward
Mandelbaum, CEO and President of Gateway
Plant, Harold K. Brown and Robert Yee,
Pacific Bancorp, before addressing a gathering of
founder of the Goldilocks chain of bakeries.
some 300 potential investors recently in the
The bank, headquartered in National City, will
Sheraton Hotel in San Diego’s Mission Valley.
serve all of the South Bay, as well as Coronado
“We have no bank loans and we will be positioned
and downtown San Diego. A full service com-
to provide credit,” Mandelbaum told ASIA before
mercial bank, Gateway Pacific will offer a wide
he and partners made their pitch to raise between
range of traditional banking products and services.
$15 milion and $19.3 million in capital, at $10 a
What makes it unique, said Mandelbaum, is that it
share, before June 6.
reflects the diversity of the community it serves
Mandelbaum admitted opening a bank in
and it will “capitalize on the board’s cultural affili-
today’s flagging economy was “substantial.”
However, as Ed Carpenter, one of the founders
No bad loans – in fact, no loans currently – is
told the audience, the rewards can be more than
the bank’s other strength. Initial investments are
fulfilling. Carpenter, who has opened 700 banks in
already sufficient for it to be loaning money,
his career, related how he opened a small institu-
according to Mandelbaum.
tion in Eureka, Northern California, several years
Because its principal investors and board mem-
ago when the town had virtually gone bust amid a
bers hail from the local community, primarily
declining lumber industry. Within there years, the
National City, customers will have “direct access
bank was making a healthy profit, he said.
to decision makers,” Mandelbaum emphasized.
“This is the best time to start a bank – ever,”
The bank will also support community activities,
said Carpenter, adding that 198 banks have opened
offer internships for college students seeking
in California in the last 20 years and only two
careers in business and marketing and provide
have failed.
overall job opportunities for residents of National
Mandelbaum said the bank’s principal investors
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