Restructured Plaza Bank Elects Thomas B. Rogers Chairman

Thomas B. Rogers, a significant presence in Orange County banking, business, cultural and philanthropic circles for 25 years and a Newport Beach resident, is the new chairman of Plaza Bank’s board of directors. The four-year-old community bank serves small business in Orange County and has undergone a wide-ranging restructuring by its new controlling owners with the infusion of significant capital and new leadership.

For the year ending September 30, 2009, Plaza Bank extended the most U.S. Small Business Administration loans of any bank in Orange County, according to SBA figures released in early December.

“I have accepted this challenge because of the quality of Plaza Bank’s ownership, its seasoned management, its financial strength, and its vision and commitment to lend to small businesses and contribute to Orange County’s economic recovery,” said Rogers, who “retired” earlier this year as executive vice president of City National Bank’s Southern Region of Orange County.

“I also have great respect for Ed Carpenter, a gifted banking leader based in Orange County, whose Carpenter Community BancFund has given Plaza Bank new life, new energy and the ability and mission to extend credit to Orange County’s small businesses that have been so punished in the current recession,” Rogers said.

In recent months, Plaza Bank has installed a new president, Gene Galloway, and chief executive officer, Terry L. Robinson, both of whom reside in Irvine. Two new board members – Charles Kenny, former chief executive of The Private Bank of California, and James Jones, a partner of the BancFund’s general partner – also have been added in recent weeks.

“Tom Rogers is widely liked and respected in Orange County for making a positive contribution to everything he touches,” said Gene Galloway, the bank’s president. “We expect to be a growing force and influence in the economic recovery of Orange County, and Tom certainly will be instrumental in leading that evolution.”

Galloway said Plaza Bank’s ambitious business plans call for the bank to extend more than $100 million in loans to small businesses in 2010, and to grow assets by more than $80 million as a result of building new relationships with viable businesses in search of scarce credit.

“Even in a dark recession, I believe we have the talent and ability to achieve continuing improved performance, profitability and returns for every employee and shareholder as we help refuel and jumpstart Orange County’s economic engines,” Galloway said.

Prior to joining City National Bank in 2000, Rogers spent eight years as senior vice president and treasurer of The Irvine Company in Newport Beach. He assumed that role after 25 years of various commercial lending and management positions for financial institutions including Security Pacific National Bank and the National Bank of Detroit.

In the community, Rogers serves as chairman of the board of Memorial Health Services, a five-hospital healthcare system. He is also a board member and past chair of Orange County United Way, and serves on the board of South Coast Repertory Theatre. Rogers is co-chair of the advisory council for The Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine.

Rogers, a resident of Newport Beach, joined the board of Plaza Bank in July. He replaces Robert J. Feldhake, who was instrumental in directing the bank through its management and financial changes.

“We are grateful for Robert’s dedication and commitment to Plaza Bank and for positioning us for continued expansion and success,” President Galloway said.