PacWest Bancorp is the holding company for Pacific Western Bank, which operates about 65 branches in Southern California, plus three in the San Francisco Bay Area. The bank caters to small and midsized businesses and their owners and employees, offering traditional deposit and loan products and services. Commercial real estate mortgages, business loans (including Small Business Administration loans), and construction loans account for most of the bank's lending activities. It also originates residential mortgage, consumer, and other loans. The bank offers investment services and international banking through agreements with correspondent banks.
The company's BFI Business Finance subsidiary and Financial Pacific Western division provides asset-based lending and factoring of accounts receivable to small businesses in Arizona, California, and the Pacific Northwest. PacWest added to its commercial lending operations with the acquisition of Utah-based Marquette Equipment Finance (renamed Pacific Western Equipment Finance) in early 2012. The unit has lease receivables in 45 states.
After spending several years in the red, PacWest returned to profitability in 2011. Net income reached $50 million that year, which was up from a $62 million loss reported the year before. Its a considerable improvement after losing more than $700 million in 2008. The company was hampered by the dismal California economy.
PacWest has grown through acquisitions of California community banks and other companies. It has made more than 20 acquisitions since 1999. During the economic downturn PacWest took advantage of a rash of bank failures through FDIC-assisted transactions. The acquired institutions were merged into Pacific Western Bank. Under the loss-sharing deals the FDIC agreed to reimburse PacWest for future losses tied to the acquisitions.
PacWest is focused on profitability and strategic growth. In a 2012 non-FDIC-assisted deal, it bought American Perspective Bank, adding two branches and a loan office in the Central Coast area. Also in 2012, PacWest continued its effort to strengthen its position in the California market and announced plans to acquire First California Financial Group in $212 million all-stock deal. However, First California turned down the offer.
Later in 2012 PacWest sold 10 branches to Opus Bank, an Irvine, California-based bank. The sale is part of PacWest's ongoing effort to improve efficiency and profitability. Cutting loose the 10 branches will save the company about $2 million each year. – less