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You Can’t Always Bank on the Sign

This town isn’t big enough for two First National Banks--even if one of them is only a ghost. First National, headquartered in the photogenic building that flies the large American flag--recently asked California First Bank to take down three plaques that adorn the Cal First building on B Street. The plaques were added several years ago to honor Cal First’s predecessor, the First National Bank, founded in 1883.

“We’ve had a couple of clients complain that they ended up in the wrong building,” said Karen Brassfield, a vice president at the existing First National.

Cal First--which owns its B Street high-rise--"has every intention of removing the plaques,” according to a building spokesman. The potentially misleading plaques will disappear when Cal First completes its acquisition of Union Bank. At that time, Cal First will change its name to Union Bank and unveil its new logo, the spokesman said.

That will cure the immediate problem.

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But there’s another First National ghost lurking nearby. Passers-by on Broadway can still see First National Bank’s original sign on a building just west of the San Diego Trust & Savings Bank building.


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