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Daily Business Report — Dec. 17

1st Pacific Appoints New CEO; Announces Regulatory Orders, NASDAQ Notification of Delinquency

1st Pacific Bancorp and 1st Pacific Bank announced it has appointed veteran banker John McGrath to be its president and CEO, effective Jan. 1. McGrath, a 40-year banking veteran, has a history of turning around troubled banks. He recently joined the company as a management consultant and previously served on the board of First Business Bank in San Diego and as president of the Auerbach Trust, the majority shareholder of First Business Bank.

“John is expert at improving bank profitability and working with regulators to fulfill their requirements,” said Ronald J. Carlson, president, CEO and chairman of the board of 1st Pacific Bancorp and 1st Pacific Bank. “The board and I are confident that John is well qualified to take the company forward during this challenging time in its history.” Carlson said he will resign as president and CEO as of Dec. 31, but will continue on in his role as chairman of the company.

1st Pacific Bancorp has entered into a written agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and a waiver and consent with the California Department of Financial Institutions to issue a final order to strengthen the bank. Each establishes time frames for the completion of remedial measures that the bank had previously identified and has been working to improve. As a result of the agreements, the bank will prepare various specific plans related to allowance for loan and lease losses, liquidity and capital, and improve management of its real estate loan portfolio. The bank will also seek approval from regulators on corporate and business changes.

The company also received notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market of its failure to meet the minimum bid price requirement for continued listing on the exchange. The company has 180 days to regain compliance with the minimum bid price rule and 90 calendar days to regain compliance with the minimum market value rule.

According to a report in the San Diego Daily Transcript, 1st Pacific Bank has been beset by problematic real estate loans for the last few years, recording more than $12 million in noncurrent loans and charging off $15.4 million at the end of last year. The report said the bank was scheduled to be acquired by First Business Bank in November, but the transaction fell through because of the weakened economy and tight credit markets.

Regents Bank to Open New Office in El Cajon

Regents Bank announced plans to open an office in El Cajon by the end of January, bringing the total number of Regents Bank locations to five. The bank recruited the longtime banking team of Tom Ivory and Teri King to manage the El Cajon office. Ivory and King have worked together at community banks and financial institutions in East County for more than 20 years.. The bank’s holding company, Regents Bancshares, was awarded funding of $12.7 million under the “healthy bank” provisions of TARP. Chairman Thomas C. Young said the additional office and new hires are part of a growth strategy for Regents Bank. “At a time when many banks are contracting or closing, our conservative and methodical approach to growth has earned us coveted ‘healthy bank’ TARP funding, facilitated geographical expansion of our services and enabled us to recruit additional top banking talent,” Young said.

Private Asset Management Purchases Office Building

An 18,000-square-foot office building at 5348 Carroll Canyon Road in San Diego has been purchased by Private Asset Management for $3.43 million.

The new owner, a wealth management company, plans to occupy 9,000 square feet in the building and has tapped Cushman & Wakefield to market the balance of the space for lease. Deborah Hunkeler and Jay Arnett of Cushman & Wakefield represented Private Asset Management in the purchase. The seller, Laboratory Building Designers, was represented by Jed Stirnkorb of CB Richard Ellis. Hunkeler, along with Arnett and Kevin Farrell, also of Cushman & Wakefield, will handle leasing efforts.

The building is undergoing renovations.  Features include golf course views, highly visible building signage, locker and shower facilities and large outdoor patio areas.

Vietnames Restaurant to Open in Hillcrest

Pho Fifth Avenue, a Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in dishes such as Pho, a beef and noodle soup, has signed a 10-year lease for 2,100 square feet of retail space at The Shops at Hillcrest at 3807 Fifth Ave. Restaurant owners are Than V. Nguyen and Cynthia Vu. They will move into the space in May 2010. Westcore Properties is the owner of the property. In the transaction, Westcore was represented by Aaron Hill and John Jennings of Cushman & Wakefield. Pho Fifth Avenue was represented by David Strauss, also of Cushman & Wakefield. Other tenants in the building include Starbucks, Jamba Juice, St. Tropez and L&L BBQ.

The Shops at Hillcrest is part of Westcore Properties’ 8.6 million-square-foot commercial real estate portfolio of industrial and office space.

Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce Enters Partnership

The Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce has joined forces with the Green Technology Alliance to promote the increased adoption of sustainable business practices. The GTA will participate in the chamber’s Business and Technology Expo on Sept. 10-11 at the San Diego Convention Center as guest speakers.  GTA representatives will educate attendees on green solutions that enhance reduced costs, improved efficiency and greater productivity. “The Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce has partnered with the Green Technology Alliance to support Hispanic-owned businesses committed to incorporating sustainable economic development strategies as part of their business models,” said Tayde Aburto, president and marketing director of the chamber.

Federal Contract Awards . . .

URSGI-BMDC J.V., San Diego, was awarded a federal contract valued at up to $30 million by the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, San Diego, for designing complete plans and specifications for various projects at multiple Marine Corps bases within Arizona and California.

ATA Engineering Inc., San Diego, won a $749,819 federal contract from the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for research and development on multiphysics coupled analysis capability for hypersonic vehicle structures.

Multivarible Solutions, Carlsbad, won a $35,564.55 federal contract from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Integrated Support Command, Seattle, Wash., for black modular armor carriers.

Tetra Tech Em Inc., San Diego, won a $2,365 federal contract modification from the U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsNational Energy Business Center, Seven Hills, Ohio, for the feasibility evaluation of a solar photovoltaic system for the Riverside National Cemetery under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Place of performance will be in Riverside.

Klausner to Leave Post at InfoSonics Corp.

Jeffrey Klausner, CFO of InfoSonics Corp., will step down on Jan. 10, the company announced. Klausner has taken a position closer to his residence allowing him to spend more time with his family, the company said in a statement. Roger Laungani, the firm’s controller since August 2006, has been appointed as InfoSonics’ interim CFO as the firm begins a search for a replacement. “I am saddened by Jeff’s departure and I respect his decision and motivation to be closer to his family,” said Joseph Ram, CEO. His oversight and strategic counsel will be missed. He has done an exceptional job over the past six plus years in managing the company’s financial, accounting, legal, strategic development and operational functions.”

The Daily Business Report is a product of REP Publishing Inc., publisher of San Diego Metropolitan magazine and the North Park News.

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