CBA Conducts Editorial Board Meeting with the Sacramento Bee

Last week the CBA conducted a second editorial board meeting with the Sacramento Bee. The meeting covered a wide range of topics ...


Last week the CBA conducted a second editorial board meeting with the Sacramento Bee. The meeting covered a wide range of topics including the prospects for federal regulatory reform and the CHOICE Act, with a fair amount of time spent discussing the importance of reforming the QM rule.  Also discussed were the challenges associated with banking the cannabis industry, including a conversation about the establishment of a state-run bank, and other state legislative issues were discussed as well, including CBA’s sponsored bill on elder financial abuse, AB 611. These meetings continue to be excellent opportunities for California’s industry leaders to interface with the editorial board staff (those who determine the direction of the newspaper’s opinion page) and discuss issues of concern to the industry and consumers, and communicate the positive role their bank plays in the local community. CBA would like to acknowledge and thank the following bankers who joined us at last week’s meeting: George Cook, El Dorado Savings Bank; Rick Smith, Tri Counties Bank; Virginia Varela, Golden Pacific Bank, and Louise Walker, First Northern Bank.


Starting a Conversation on Bank Rules

No matter what your political stance, there is something that we should be able to agree on, and that is there are too many silly...


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No matter what your political stance, there is something that we should be able to agree on, and that is there are too many silly, outdated and overly restrictive laws affecting community banks and small credit unions, harming small businesses and their access to capital.

The Trump administration’s focus on regulatory burden is the start of a conversation that could lead to a more competitive business environment.

On Jan. 30, President Trump signed an executive order that will require federal agencies to cut two existing regulations for every new regulation they implement. Then on Feb. 3, the president signed an executive order directing a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act, the 2010 law enacted in the wake of the financial crisis that brought the most significant change to financial regulation since the Great Depression. Under this directive, the Treasury Department is required to recommend changes that align with the administration’s goal of easing burdens on the financial industry.

From a banker’s perspective, regulations that are not well thought out can be a great cost in dollars and time. It’s well recognized that regulations, for U.S. community banks and credit unions, are imposing a much heavier regulatory and risk management burden than they were years ago.

There are many examples of regulations working against common sense. New rules affecting mortgages make it more cumbersome for banks and credit unions to offer nonstandard home loans. Regulators require banks to insist that borrowers provide detailed financial information on an annual basis even if borrowers are paying as agreed and are well known bank customers.

Banks spend crazy amounts of money and staff resources to comply with outdated rules that don’t address current threats to the U.S. financial system.

When confronted with too many regulations, managers can lose their ability to focus on serving customers. They take away a community bank’s ability to do what it is supposed to do to support the local economy. As financial institutions become increasingly concerned about compliance and risk management, they devote more time and resources to stave off potential issues, rather than activities to facilitate growth and performance. If the distraction is severe enough, there will be an increased likelihood of bank failures, a matter of concern to shareholders, employees, customers and American taxpayers, who ultimately may be asked to pick up the tab.

To be sure, there is reason to question how the president’s order will play out, with an approach that seems simplistic. I’m not sure there is a perfect two-for-one fit in the complex world of regulations and compliance.

But I strongly believe that there needs to be a deeper consideration of why we are imposing regulations, who they affect and whether regulations are successful in achieving their aims. I agree with former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairwoman Sheila Bair who said in a recent interview that the president should focus on “smart regulation.” There is a need for balanced regulations to protect against risk of a financial crisis such as we experienced in the past decade.

If we can sit at the table for a discussion on scaling back regulations that are inefficient and ineffective, with emphasis on ongoing review of the usefulness of regulations and the administrative structure that governs them, it will be a good thing.

Virginia Varela is CEO of Sacramento-based Golden Pacific Bank.


A Letter from Rikki Shaffer

Dear Virginia, On behalf of the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce board and staff, I would like to extend our appreciation for ...


Dear Virginia,

On behalf of the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce board and staff, I would like to extend our appreciation for the generous support of Golden Pacific Bank (GPB) for the Chamber’s BizWorks program.

It was because the Golden Pacific Bank leadership, board and shareholders were able to see and connect its mission with the vision of the BizWorks program, its value to the Yuba-Sutter community, and its potential impact on the local economy, that we were able to move forward with launching the program in the extraordinary facility now known as the Golden Pacific Bank Business Center.

The Chamber understands the substantial investment and commitment made by GPB when they afforded us this opportunity.

We want to honor that investment and commitment by growing the program to its full potential, and to make the Golden Pacific Bank Business Center and its small business eco-system the standard for other like efforts to strive for.

At just 7 months post launch the program is young yet but we are seeing continual vertical growth and are looking forward to a strong 2017 finish.

Golden Pacific Bank will be honored and recognized as the program sponsor in the Chamber’s new website (scheduled to launch end of February), BizWorks website, print and social media campaigns (currently in development). In addition GPB will have an Oscar level sponsorship at the next Chamber Gala and Champagne level sponsorship at our Taste of Yuba-Sutter (our two flagship events).

We are honored to have you as our partner and supporter. Words are insufficient to express the depth of our gratitude. Thank you for this opportunity.


Rikki L. Shaffer
Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce


Golden Pacific Bank Business Center Ribbon Cutting

The Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce launched its economic development program, Yuba- Sutter BizWorks on May 23, 2016. Funding ...


The Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce launched its economic development program, Yuba- Sutter BizWorks on May 23, 2016. Funding allowed us to secure site; prepare facility, and implement its business development programs.

Program Sponsor, Founding Sponsors and Collaborative Partnerships

Program Sponsor: Golden Pacific Bank
Founding Sponsors:
Sutter Health; Sierra Central Credit Union; US Bank; Families of Flores, Retzloff & Shaffer; Adept Solutions; Comcast Business; 3D Floor Covering

Additional Partnerships: Focus LLC, MarComm Media Group, LLC, Grafix Marketing, Cambridge Jr. College, North Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, SBDC, US SBA, Dept. of Commerce, Sutter County One-Stop, Yuba County One-Stop, Sutter County, City of Yuba City, City of Marysville, Yuba-Sutter EDC, Yuba Community College, Paychex

Incubator/Accelerator & Co-Worker shared spaced successfully launched. SBDC services fully functioning and just added bi-monthly services of the US SBA (operating from our facility). We currently have (3) participants in the incubator/accelerator program, (10) participants in the co- working shared space and (6) organizations in the internal eco-system (onsite).

Success Story: Not long after launching BizWorks a local business owner came to us in tears; it was 4:30 pm and we were a ‘last hope’ stop for them. Their 2nd generation family business was facing foreclosure and they had less than 2 weeks to produce funds to save the business. It grew late into the evening as the situation was assessed and closer to 9:00 pm as calls were placed to our eco-system partners. First call went to the CFO of our financial institution partner, who in turn contacted their CEO, who then woke up their senior loan officer. Arrangements were made for the business owner to meet with the team first thing in the morning. Fast forward two weeks; the business secured $80,000 in financial assistance; the business is in the process of being put in a trust for future generations and the owner is coming back to participate in business planning classes. 14 jobs and a legacy business were saved.

Lessons learned
As we wrap up 2016 a predominant lesson learned is the need to invest even greater efforts in reaching our target market. With the BizWorks program we want to make a significant impact to local entrepreneurs; getting them connected with our start-up support programs as well as those businesses looking for next tier growth. While we made a very satisfactory start we have significant room for growth.

Number of people reach/impacts

  • MeasurableResults:
  • Workshops: (12) - 134 Participants
  • Full Time Jobs Created: 9
  • Full/Part-time Jobs Saved: 14
  • Business Starts: 7
  • Capital Infusion: $1,812,200.00
  • Consulting Hours: 300+ 

Next steps: 2017

  • Expand marketing efforts; expand outreach(reaching out to The Hacker Lab / Sacramento for assistance in marketing strategy)
  • Host Business Plan competition (in partnership with Yuba Community College & Univ. Chico)
  • Launch Phase 2: combination classroom / makerspace
  • Grow and stabilize the incubator/accelerator program(up to 17 participants)
  • Grow and stabilize the coworker and shared space(up to 50 participants) 


What is a Community Bank and Why Should you Care?

A Note from Golden Pacific Bank’s CEO and President Virginia Varela We all heard recently of the terrible scandal at Wells ...


A Note from Golden Pacific Bank’s CEO and President Virginia Varela

We all heard recently of the terrible scandal at Wells Fargo involving wrongful sales practices, impacting many disturbed customers. This horrible damage reportedly occurred in the Wells Fargo “Community Banking” unit and under the leadership of “Community Banking” division executive Carrie Tolstedt, who is now said to be walking away from the bank with tens of millions of dollars in stock and options. Many Wells Fargo customers are irate, and looking for another financial institution to bank with yet the task of choosing another bank can be confusing. There is an important distinction between a non-community “mega-bank” versus a true community bank. Customers should be aware of what a community bank is when choosing a financial partner.  

“Community bankers are gravely concerned that the legislative and regulatory reaction to Wells Fargo will again fail to distinguish between too-big-to-manage banks and community banks,” Independent Community Bankers Association President and CEO Camden Fine (Fine, 2016) wrote to Congress. According to the FDIC, as of June 2016 four non-community banks hold 41% of total bank assets in the entire USA. Those banks are JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citibank. In contrast, there are about 6,000 community banks in the USA, as defined by those banks that focus on providing traditional banking services in their local communities. They obtain most of their core deposits locally and make many of their loans to local businesses.

The FDIC cites one attribute in defining a true community bank as based on size, and notes special characteristics of banks under $1 billion in assets. Smaller size community banks tend to obtain most of their core deposits locally, and often focus on lending to small- and medium-size local businesses. Community banks are often considered to be “relationship bankers” as opposed to “transactional” bankers. These community banks pride themselves on specialized knowledge of their local community and individual customers. Because of this expertise, community banks tend to base credit decisions on local knowledge and nonstandard data obtained through long term relationships. Community banks work hard to build relationships at a level that is hands-on and entrepreneurial. Small banks can be nimble and focused in a manner mega-banks just can’t.

When you are choosing a bank, consider all alternatives. You may not need a trillion dollar bank for your asset needs. Maybe your choice is a local bank with immediate access to the decision makers and an onsite CEO.