Ventura Bancorp Seeks OK for New Stock Offering

Ventura County National Bancorp, an Oxnard-based banking firm that has been under pressure to shore up its capital base, said it has applied with the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to issue and sell $5 million in new stock.

The company, parent of Ventura County National Bank, said it would use the proceeds of the proposed sale to help it meet capital requirements set by the state government. The company has been ordered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to meet certain capital requirements by June 30.

VCNB also said the sale proceeds would put the company in a better position to grab market share in the consolidating Ventura County banking industry. Last year, the region's oldest and largest institution, Bank of A. Levy, was purchased by Los Angeles-based First Interstate Bancorp. As part of the acquisition, A. Levy branches are expected to begin consolidating with First Interstate branches in April.

VCNB said it plans to distribute so-called rights to existing shareholders in April. The rights will entitle shareholders to purchase additional stock in the company. Shares not purchased by existing stockholders will probably be sold to institutional investors, the company said. VCNB said the offering is expected to be closed by June 30.

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