Bank company rakes in $81.7M
Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/19/2012 09:00:39 PM PST

ONTARIO – CVB Financial, parent company of Citizens Business Bank, earned its largest ever reported profit in 2011 – $81.7 million.

The amount signifies an increase from the $62.9 million profit earned in 2010.

Citizens Business Bank’s lending business is focused on loans for commercial and industrial real estate. The dairy business is also important to the bank, and CVB Financial CEO Christopher Myers attributed much of the bank’s success to a lending strategy that has avoided home loans.

“We haven’t gotten too concentrated in high-risk business, like mortgages,” Myers said.

Citizens Business Bank had issued more than $3.4 billion in loans as of the end of 2011. Roughly 61 percent of those loans are concentrated in commercial real estate, whereas only about 5 percent of the bank’s loans were issued to finance single-family mortgages.

Myers, like Chino Commercial Bancorp CEO Dann Bowman, are relatively bullish on 2012’s economic prospects.

“I’m fairly optimistic regarding the economy in California,” Bowman said. “In the Inland Empire specifically, we’re seeing improvements in our customers’ earnings.”

The largest bank in the Inland Empire, Citizens Business Bank has 47 branches and business centers in Southern California and the Central Valley. The bank’s recent success follow a rough patch the company endured in the summer of 2010.

On Aug. 10, 2010, the stock fell from $10.30 to $8 after CVB executives revealed in August the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a subpoena seeking information on the bank’s lending practices.

The bank’s price has since recovered from that shock, trading at $10.66 at the end of trading on Thursday. That amount signified a 55-cent decrease from the previous day’s close.

The SEC investigation is still active, Myers acknowledged, but he did not provide further elaboration except to say CVB Financial is cooperating with government regulators.

CVB Financial did, however, win a legal victory last week when a federal judge dismissed a class action shareholders’ lawsuit that followed news of the SEC action.

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