Fordem Glad to Be Back in Banking

Times Staff Writer

Even the competitive world of banking is a relief from the pressures a San Diego County supervisor faces, according to Paul Fordem, who recently left the board and accepted a position with Grossmont Bank.

Fordem, 54, a one-term supervisor and former mayor of La Mesa, dropped out of a tough reelection campaign last fall on his doctor's orders to reduce stress and tension. He joined Grossmont Bank as vice president of business development and public relations after his term as supervisor ended in January.

"With the competitiveness that exists (in banking) today, branch managers don't have the time to go out and talk to customers like they used to," said Fordem. "I'll be an extension of those branch managers," reaching out to the community.

Fordem says he will initially work with current clients of Grossmont Bank, which is the fourth largest in the county with $176 million in assets, and will later attempt to drum up new business.

He discounted the impact his former status will have in gaining new business for the bank, however.

"A lot of people get turned off by politicians and ex-politicians," said Fordem. "Then again, being a near-lifetime resident of the (East County) I do know a lot of people."

Among his closest contacts are large land developers. Fordem was closely aligned with development interests in the county while a supervisor, and they would be prime banking clients.

Still, Fordem noted that "It's a lot more competitive out there now, a lot more than when I left" the business as La Mesa branch manager for Home Federal Savings & Loan Assn. to enter politics full time.

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