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Senior Loan Officer of Premier Bank Resigns

Times Staff Writer

The No. 3 executive at Northridge-based Premier Bank has quit and been replaced by a former president of Valley State Bank.

The executive who resigned, John F. Fischette, was Premier’s senior loan officer and a senior vice president. He joined Premier as a branch manager when it was founded in November, 1981, as Northridge Bank.

Premier President Peter Steinmann, who hired Fischette and who also had been his boss when they worked together at Sherman Oaks-based TransWorld Bank, declined to give specifics on why the 52-year-old bank executive departed.

Steinmann would say only: “We came to a parting of the ways. It was amicable and mutual.”

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Fischette could not be reached for comment.

Although Premier has lost money this year, the bank did not suffer any substantial loan losses while Fischette directed its lending activities. But Steinmann would not rule out the possibility that some problem loans will surface this year.

“When a bank gets to be 4 or 5 years old, that’s when you see problems appear,” Steinmann said.

Fischette was replaced by Gabriel Etcheverry, who joined the bank two years ago as manager of its main office in Northridge. Before then, Etcheverry had been an executive at such financial institutions as Union Bank, Bank of Orange County and Encino-based Valley State Bank, where he was president and chief operating officer for a nine-month period that ended in mid-1982.

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Premier, a four-branch bank with offices in Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks and Ventura in addition to Northridge, reported $66.2 million in assets as of June 30.

After earnings hit a high of $306,000 in 1984, the bank’s performance was dragged down by the cost of acquiring branches as well as by building and equipping its new headquarters in Northridge.

The bank barely broke even last year, earning only $23,000, and lost $69,000 during the first half of this year.


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