First American in Laguna Changes Name 2nd Time

Times Staff Writer

Picking a third name in five years of doing business, First American Bank & Trust Co. has become the First American Capital Bank. The name change follows the sale last year of the Laguna Beach bank’s trust department.

“We sold the trust portfolio to Lloyds Bank more than a year ago,” said Jess Barrera, the bank’s president and chief executive. “But because of our name, we still got inquiries about opening trusts. So we bit the bullet and changed the bank’s name.”

The bank still has trust powers, but it simply didn’t attract much trust business from residents of the beach community, Barrera said.

The bank originally was called Laguna National Bank & Trust Co. when it opened on Dec. 1, 1981. But it continually was confused by customers and the post office with its only local competitor, Laguna Bank, which opened the same day, said Burton Sims, a First American director. So the board decided in 1982 to change the name to First American Bank & Trust, Sims said.


With $24.3 million in assets at the end of August, First American is recovering from three tough years in which it posted net losses totaling nearly $1.7 million, primarily because of bad loans backed by real estate.

This year, though, the bank has earned $137,000 in the first eight months and expects to earn $120,000 more by the end of the year, Barrera said.