Few regions were hit harder by the Great Recession than the Inland Empire, where foreclosures turned neighborhoods into ghost towns and real estate projects dissolved into weeds and broken dreams.
So it's not surprising that four of the five largest banks in the region failed, sunk by risky subprime mortgages and failed construction loans.
Citizens Business Bank was the exception. The bank, operated by holding company CVB Financial Corp., limited construction and land development loans to no more than 10% of its portfolio, far less than many of its peers.
Not only did the bank survive the worst financial downturn in a generation, it turned a profit throughout those...