American Riviera Bank Completes Merger With Bank of Santa Barbara

By Premier Professionals on Jan 27, 2016 at 06:52 PM in Santa Barbara Professional Services
Jeff DeVine and Joanne Funari have finished consolidating their two community banks in a merger that now goes by the American Riviera Bank name. DeVine will remain CEO as Funari, former interim CEO and COO at the Bank of Santa Barbara, will stay on as COO. Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo

This article reproduced from noozhawk, authored by Gina Potthoff

Jeff DeVine and Joanne Funari Jeff DeVine and Joanne Funari

A large-scale meet-and-greet went on last week within the walls of the American Riviera Bank in downtown Santa Barbara, where employees of the former Bank of Santa Barbara settled into new digs.

The merger between the two community banks became official Jan. 1, but the Jan. 16-17 weekend marked moving day and consolidation of the downtown offices, both right next door on Figueroa Street between State and Anacapa streets.

Last week was also the first chance for customers of the respective banks to run into each other at the 1033 Anacapa St. headquarters, where American Riviera Bank has operated since 2006.

“We pretty much doubled overnight,” said Jeff DeVine, who has stayed on as CEO of American Riviera Bank. “It went surprisingly well.”

That’s thanks to some six months of preparation to combine efforts since the merger was announced in July 2015, he said.

With the union, American Riviera Bank becomes the second-largest community bank based in Santa Barbara with assets over $400 million and three South Coast branches.

American Riviera Bank already had a location at 525 San Ysidro Rd. in Montecito.

Bank of Santa Barbara, which opened in 2005 before being recapitalized by local investors in 2009, already had a Goleta branch at 5880 Calle Real.

Its former 12 E. Figueroa St. headquarters will be subleased to a yet-to-be-determined tenant.

Bank of Santa Barbara’s small business administration lending department complements American Riviera Bank’s mortgage department.

The American Riviera Bank merged with the Bank of Santa Barbara in a deal that places the community banking institutations in a position to better lend and conduct business. Click to view larger
The American Riviera Bank merged with the Bank of Santa Barbara in a deal that places the community banking institutations in a position to better lend and conduct business. Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo
American Riviera Bank had the better online system, dedicated parking lot and two levels of offices. A Bank of Santa Barbara program inspired the partnership to add a two-vehicle courier fleet to ferry non-cash deposits.

What DeVine sees now is a manageable — and scalable — full-service community bank that can process two times the loans while splitting the cost of complying with ever-changing federal banking regulations.

“It’s really difficult for a small bank,” said DeVine, who sat down with Noozhawk this week to discuss the changes along with Joanne Funari, who went from interim CEO and COO of Bank of Santa Barbara to executive vice president and COO of the combined bank.

Both view the merger as an opportunity to serve more clients — many of them small business owners — without compromising on quality.

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