News & Events

Golden Pacific Bank Sponsors Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin at Sacramento Speaker Series

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Golden Pacific Bank sponsored historian Doris Kearns Goodwin at the Sacramento Speaker Series. Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world renowned presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize winning author of best-selling history books, and frequent, and perhaps the most knowledgeable commentator on current political events. She worked with Steven Spielberg on the Academy Award winning movie Lincoln, which was based in part on her award-winning book Team of Rivals. An avid Boston Red Sox fan, Goodwin was the first woman journalist allowed in the Red Sox locker room. Ms. Goodwin was introduced to the audience by Golden Pacific Bank CEO Virginia Varela.


Dear Golden Pacific Bank Shareholders, Employees and Customers,

Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with all of you impacted by the recent wildfires. We are sorry that so many of you, including several of our employees, had your lives recently disrupted by evacuations and other distresses. Some of our most unfortunate customers lost their homes.

This can be a stressful time. Please know that Golden Pacific Bank is here to help. With lessons learned including from the pending floods last spring, we are disaster ready and equipped to handle your cash needs and those of your friends in the community.

Should you need additional cash or assistance with any of your accounts or loan services, please do not hesitate to contact us here at (800) 582 – 5503, or check out your online banking by logging in at


Your Friends at Golden Pacific Bank

Golden Pacific Bank supports South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


I just returned from a very interesting experience that I’d like to share with you.  For the past ten days I was an invited guest speaker at the South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  I was sought to present and lead discussions on such topics as corporate governance, strategic planning, small and medium enterprise and commercial real estate lending, and increased competition raised by automated lending.  Conference participants represented Bangladesh Bank, Reserve Bank of India, Bank Indonesia, Indonesia Deposit Insurance Corporation, Bank Negara Malaysia, Central Bank of Myanmar, Nepal Rastra Bank, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Bank of Thailand, State Bank of Vietnam, and Deposit Insurance of Vietnam.  Other trainers were from Africa and Italy.  The wide participant base and lively discussions highlighted global concerns such as expectations of increasing liquidity risk, need for detailed stress testing with rising rates, and capital constraints under evolving international rules and requirements.

It was astonishing to note the similar issues, concerns and approaches amongst bankers regardless of country of origin.  Also, in spite of significant challenges and disasters in numerous countries represented, I was touched by many personal expressions of condolences to me and our Bank regarding the California fires that were reported the same week of training. 

This experience was unquestionably a highlight of my career, leaving memories that I will relish for years to come.    

Virginia Varela, President/CEO

Virginia Varela elected Pacific Region representative of “Friends of Traditional Banking"

With a unanimous vote of the FOTB Executive Committee, Virginia Varela was recently accepted as a new member of that committee, representing the Pacific Region (Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and California). Varela, who is president and CEO of Golden Pacific Bank in Sacramento, brings over 25 years of experience in the industry.

"We are thrilled to have Virginia on our executive committee," said Ty Abston, chairman of Friends of Traditional Banking. "She brings a depth of experience and important perspectives that will help us continue to grow our grassroots organization."

Varela also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the California Bankers Association and has held positions with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. 

"I am pleased and honored to be included on the FOTB executive team representing the Pacific Coast Region," said Varela. "I strongly believe in community banking and support any endeavor committed to defending it from misguided laws and overregulation."

Golden Pacific Bancorp Announces Board Changes

August 8, 2017 - Virginia Varela, CEO of Golden Pacific Bancorp, announced that Richard Claussen, a founding Director, has formally resigned from his position as Chairman and Board member. Director David Roche is appointed as the new Chairman of both the Golden Pacific Bancorp and Golden Pacific Bank Board of Directors.    Mr. Roche has over 30 years of extensive experience in the financial services field including as a veteran and partner with Deloitte & Touche, and over ten years in community banking. 

Mr. Claussen says, “I have recently retired from my primary businesses, and it is also time for me to reduce my outside responsibilities so I can focus more on the activities I wish to pursue in retirement. Golden Pacific Bank is in excellent hands with our very dedicated and experienced CEO, Virginia Varela, and our management team, as well as with our talented Board of Directors. I have every confidence that the Bank will continue to grow and meet the needs of its customers as the area’s premier community bank.”

Mr. Roche says, “I am pleased to serve as Chairman and excited about Golden Pacific Bank’s future; the Bank is well positioned for success and realization of enhanced shareholder value. We are grateful for Mr. Claussen who led us through a period of transition with superb leadership, and we wish him all the very best in his retirement.” 

Golden Pacific Bank at the 2017 Annual Sacramento Niello Corporate Run

Aug 1, 2017, 9:59 PDT

corp run 2017

Golden Pacific Bank staff strutted their stuff at the third annual Niello BMW Corporate Run, on Thursday, May 25.  Staff, friends and families ran, walked and wheeled through downtown and along the Sacramento River and back to Capitol Mall.

Golden Pacific Bank is the only community bank participating in the Banking/Investments division three years in a row! GO TEAM GPB!!!

Thanks to all that participated, and especially to Melissa Silveira that helped organize and design the T-shirts this year. 

Virginia Varela wins Prestigious Women Who Mean Business Award

Jun 23, 2017, 3:26pm PDT

Robert Celaschi, Correspondent - Sacramento Business Journal

Golden Pacific Bank is pleased to announce that our bank President/CEO, Virginia Varela, was honored as one 14 women in the greater Sacramento area to receive a prestigious “Women Who Mean Business” award. This award celebrates women who have become powerful movers and shakers in the community. Some of the honorees had to overcome enormous personal struggles — poverty, abuse, prejudice — to get to where they are. Others had to surmount tremendous barriers in their industries, long dominated by men. And many have had to work hard — harder than their male counterparts — to carve out a path where none had existed before. Golden Pacific Bank congratulates our very own Virginia Varela, as well as all of this year’s honorees, who received this esteemed and much-respected award. An awards luncheon, attended by hundreds, was held at the Sacramento Hyatt Regency on June 23. 2017, to celebrate the award recipients.

Click here for details.


Tips From Sacramento Small Business Believers 

Wednesday May 3rd 2017

On May 3, 2017 Golden Pacific Bank was host to a gathering of over 30 local business people who met for a “Small Business Believers” event to listen to local business experts present tips to help small businesses thrive, and to discuss their outlook on the Sacramento economy. Featured guest speakers were Allan Zaremberg, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce; John Shirey, Former City Manager, City of Sacramento; and Mark Haney, host of Entrepreneurs Unlimited radio talk show on KHTS.  

Click here for details.

Former city manager to advise Sacramento bank

May 5, 2017, 2:45pm PDT

Mark Anderson, Staff Writer - Sacramento Business Journal


John Shirey, the former Sacramento city manager, has joined Golden Pacific Bank as an adviser to its board of directors.

It is the second high-profile addition to the bank's management in as many months. In April, Golden Pacific announced that Joe McClure, the current Sacramento district director of the Small Business Administration, will join the bank as its new chief business officer at the end of May.

Shirey is already working with the bank's advisory board, said Golden Pacific CEO Virginia Varela. Shirey said he will consult with the bank on local and regional issues and developments.

Shirey was city manager from 2011 until his retirement at the end of last year. Prior to joining the city, he spent a decade as executive director of the California Redevelopment Association.

Shirey is a graduate of Purdue University and earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

Golden Pacific Bank is the primary subsidiary of holding company Golden Pacific Bancorp. The bank has branches in Sacramento, Live Oak and Yuba City. It earned $615,000 last year on assets of $130 million.

Golden Pacific Bank Announces SBA Veteran Joseph McClure As New Chief Business Officer

April 19, 2017

Joe Mcclure

SACRAMENTO, CA. Golden Pacific Bancorp and Golden Pacific Bank (“GPB”) are pleased to announce that SBA District Director Mr. Joseph (“Joe”) McClure will be joining the Bank’s executive ranks as their newly appointed EVP/Chief Business Officer. Mr. McClure has an impressive 25+ year career in small business lending and economic development, holding executive leadership positions for over 15 years.

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Joe McClure to our team,” says Richard Claussen, Chairman of GPB. “Joe has vast experience with a variety of small businesses, and his involvement and dedication will be a valuable asset in helping GPB build a strong and vibrant community banking force in Northern California.” CEO Virginia Varela adds, “The Bank is poised to take advantage of the recent uptick in the local economy. Joe will enhance GPB’s already robust commercial loan program to meet the needs of growing small and medium size businesses.”

Joe’s oversight as Small Business Administration (“SBA”) District Director covers 22 counties in Northeastern California, serving over 3.1 million constituents. Under Joe’s leadership, in just three years SBA loan volume grew by over 30% from 700 to 928 loans, and total dollars grew by over 55% from $306 million to over $475 million, in 2013 and 2016 respectively. Before arriving in Sacramento, Mr. McClure was the SBA District Director in Montana.

Prior to his federal service, Mr. McClure worked in small business lending programs including overseeing a SBA 504 lending program at the Lancaster Economic Development Corporation, running the Los Angeles County Business loan fund for the L.A. County Community Development Commission’s Business Finance Center, and acting as the Executive Director of the Economic Development Collaborative in Ventura County.

In 2000, McClure resided in Billings, Montana, where he was Executive Director for a county wide Economic Development Agency and led a business recruitment effort for Yellowstone County that lured four new major employers to the community, including General Electric and Cabela’s, and created over 750 new high-quality jobs. Joe also created a privately funded Economic Development Corporation, launched a small business revolving loan fund, and developed a new SBA 504 Certified Development Corporation which has recently become the leading SBA 504 lender in Montana.

Mr. McClure commented, “I’m a true supporter of small business and excited to join Golden Pacific Bank. Sacramento continues to enjoy resurgence, and small business is at the heart of that exciting growth.”

Golden Pacific Bank is a full service community business bank committed to serving the small and medium size business community in and around the Sacramento region, with branches in Sacramento, Yuba City and Live Oak.

2017 GALA

January, 2017

As proudly announced at the January 13, 2017 GALA, Golden Pacific Bank, winner of the Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD and 2016 Business of the Year SERVICE award. 

Business Awards Application recognizes organizations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to service excellence.


The Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce Business Awards is a program that honors the achievements and contributions of industry leading projects, initiatives, products and services.  Chamber member organizations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, technological achievement, sustainability and commercial success are invited to participate and be celebrated and recognized via a set of established business and product award categories.


Fed Raises Rates

December, 2016

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.  Three more raises are expected in 2017. This increase in the federal funds rate was widely expected.

The prospect of a monetary tightening in 2017 contributed to a selloff in shorter-dated U.S. Treasuries and stocks. Yields on shorter-dated Treasuries hit their highest levels in more than five years.  U.S. stock prices fell in uneven activity. The dollar rose against other currencies. Gold hit its lowest level in more than 10 months.  Oil prices declined.

Yellen called this a "very modest adjustment".  It is an outcome of strong job gains and concerns of faster inflation. Wednesday's rate increase should be "understood as a reflection of the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made…" she said.

Trump is widely considered likely to replace Yellen when her term ends in early 2018.  Virginia Varela, President and CEO of Golden Pacific Bank headquartered in Sacramento, was previously an employee of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco while Janet Yellen was in charge.  “It was an exciting time for me, and I have the highest regard for Ms. Yellen, whom I consider to be a very intelligent and reasonable economist.”

Virginia also noted “Bankers are uncertain as to the incoming Trump administration's promises of tax cuts, spending and deregulation.  We don’t really know how the market will behave under the Trump administration’s rule, but in the short term these rate increases are good for our earnings and the franchise value of community banks is on the upswing.”

Golden Pacific Bank Announces New CFO Mr. Bradley J. Lyon

Sacramento, CA. - December 12, 2016

brad lyon

Golden Pacific Bank announces that Mr. Bradley J. Lyon will be joining their team as the new EVP/Chief Financial Officer, and EVP/CFO of Golden Pacific Bancorp. Mr. Lyon has been a veteran in the financial services industry for more than 29 years and is well known and respected for his intelligence and experience with all aspects of community banking.  Mr. Lyon most recently was a Senior Associate Consultant with RLR Management Consulting, Inc., serving many financial institutions with his banking expertise. Mr. Lyon also worked at San Luis Trust Bank where he was CEO, President and/or CFO for more than a decade.  Mr. Lyon worked his way up from Assistant Controller to CFO at First Bank of San Luis Obispo over several years.  In the 1980s Brad was an Assistant National Bank Examiner with the OCC.

In addition to traditional CFO reporting and analytical responsibilities, Brad’s expertise includes asset liability management, investments and risk controls, all aspects of credit administration, vendor management and audits, loan compliance, loan servicing, CRA, fair lending, corporate activities, and policies and procedures. 

President and CEO Virginia Varela stated “I am very excited to work with Brad. He has great expertise and proven talents, and his efficient leadership will no doubt add to the caliber of Golden Pacific Bank’s overall operations and organizational success.”

Brad and his family are planning to move to the Sacramento area from their home of many years in San Luis Obispo, California. 


Golden Pacific Bank offers its building and other backing to the Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce and others as part of its continued support of the Golden Pacific Bank Business Center, a one stop shop resource bank for small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs–all in one place and at minimal cost.  Located in downtown Marysville, the Golden Pacific Bank Business Center is a perfect hub for training, networking, and inventing.  Businesses have access to work space and professionals for consultation about lending, cash management and other financial services, marketing, staffing and other business tools. 

Says Golden Pacific Bank President and CEO Virginia Varela, “The collaboration and cooperation between Golden Pacific Bank, the Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce and other Chambers, the SBCDs, District SBA, BizWorks, Cal Cap and other programs has been great. Our interests are strategically aligned which makes for a winning combination.  Golden Pacific Bank’s continued support is also an opportunity to demonstrate to the local community that we are committed to growing businesses and job growth.”

 Golden Pacific Bank is happy to continue its support of this vitally important resource for small business owners and start-ups.  As a small, locally owned and run business ourselves, Golden Pacific Bank uniquely understands and commits to supporting the special needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses.  We are proud to be part of this dream come true, and excited to watch Golden Pacific Bank Business Center create jobs and strengthen the local economy. 

The Advantage of Community Banking:

Nov 8, 2016 - Sacramento Business Journal

Published online Oct 28, 2016, 5:40am PDT Banking & Financial Services

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We’ve all heard about the scandal at Wells Fargo involving wrongful sales practices. This reportedly occurred in the Wells Fargo “Community Banking” unit, under the leadership of ex-chairman and CEO John Stumpf and community banking division executive Carrie Tolstedt, who are both 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, when deciding on a financial partner, customers may not consider, nor understand the important distinction between noncommunity “mega-banks” that are systemically risky institutions, such as Wells Fargo, and small, local, true community banks that offer many benefits and inherent risk controls.

Wells Fargo is one of those mega, “too big to fail” banks that by shear size come with their own set of issues. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as of June 2016, four noncommunity banks held 41 percent of total bank assets in the entire U.S. Those banks were JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citibank. These banks are massive. Most consumer policies, procedures and practices are established at a remote location, according to corporate rules, with wide-scale ramifications that are hard to maneuver and risk-control.

In contrast, there are about 6,000 community banks in the U.S. Community banks are defined as those that focus on providing traditional banking services in their local communities.

Local bankers had nothing to do with the corruptive corporate sales culture at Wells Fargo. They are not and will never be a Wells. Community bankers pride themselves on accountability and intimate knowledge of their communities. They are held to high standards because community bankers live and work in the local communities that they serve. Community bankers are especially tied to the success of their communities and simply can’t afford to take advantage of their customers.

Community bank executives have a level of oversight that makes a scandal such as what happened at Wells less likely. They pride themselves on specialized knowledge of their local community and can respond with an approach especially tailored to that customer and community. Their work is building customer relationships at an intimate level at which the local customer comes first.

If something does come up, such as fraudulent practices, community banks have the ability to respond to complaints and issues quickly without layers of management and bureaucracy getting in the way.

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 on-site CEO.

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

Bank on the Corner:


Funding Local Business is its Mission... 

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As community celebrations go, it would be difficult to top Cecily Hastings’ new book, “Inside Sacramento: The Most Interesting Neighborhood Places in America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” And since Cecily owns the publication you’re presently reading, she doesn’t need my help to cheer the small businesses highlighted in her book.

But as I flipped through “Inside Sacramento” and marveled at the story in pictures and words, I realized it was a blueprint for how a city comes of age. Which raises a question: Beyond the cultural vibrancy these businesses provide, how important are they to Sacramento’s economy?

It turns out they are extremely important.

Small businesses— enterprises such as Magpie Cafe on 16th Street and Bacon & Butter in Tahoe Park—are a cornerstone of the local economy. They can’t be underestimated or overlooked.

Sacramento has a unique relationship with small business. The community lacks Fortune 500 headquarters and the jobs they create. The city is not an industrial or manufacturing base. And Sacramento’s historic links to agriculture have been dwindling for 50 years

Small businesses—especially restaurants, bars and the hospitality sector—fill the void. U.S. Census data show food services and accommodations provide 22,000 jobs in the city of Sacramento. Most are clustered around the eight core neighborhoods featured in Hastings’ book. About 12 percent of the city’s workforce earns a living in the hospitality and retail service industries.

Sacramento relies on government jobs to provide the vast majority of local paychecks. With a population of about 480,000, the city has 96,000 residents working in what census authorities call “public administration.” That means government work.

Beyond public administration, the impact of small business becomes apparent on every street where people wander, shop and play. Small firms with fewer than 20 employees account for 41,000 jobs in Sacramento—23 percent of the workforce. That’s monumental.

To better understand the significance of small businesses in the community, I talked to someone whose work revolves around the dreams, ambitions and realities of local entrepreneurs: Virginia Varela, president and CEO of Golden Pacific Bank.

Varela has spent her career in banking. She served as a federal The Bank on the Corner bank regulator and U.S. Treasury official. These days, she runs a small community bank headquartered at 9th and J streets. Golden Pacific has retail operations in downtown Sacramento, Yuba City and Live Oak. The bank specializes in making smallbusiness loans.

“We think small is beautiful,” Varela says. “We are unique in comparison to big-box banks. There are three of us here in the office with loan authority who make almost every decision on small-business loans. Or we can reach out directly to our board members if we need more consultation. When you get a loan from us, it’s the CEO who’s approving your loan.”

Providing funds for businesses owned by women and minorities is a Golden Pacific subspeciality. Varela has seen how difficult it can be for women, young people and minority entrepreneurs to secure bank loans, forcing many into secondary financial markets that lack the regulation, oversight and competitive interest rates of a real bank.

“That’s a point of pride for us,” she says. “The small-business entrepreneur is a target customer for us. Being small ourselves, we know where they are coming from.”

Golden Pacific Bank supplied funds for several of the 101 businesses featured in “Inside Sacramento.” Befitting the community pride that comes from assisting a small business open its doors, Varela makes personal visits to the shops underwritten by Golden Pacific. When the CEO and Golden Pacific staff members buy products and enjoy meals and drinks, the bills they pay directly assist the enterprises they helped establish.

Funding small businesses can be a high-risk proposition. Few types of work are more difficult than running a small enterprise. And sometimes, small entrepreneurs fail.

Days before the presses rolled on her book, Hastings learned one of the featured retail shops had shut down. She removed the photos and copy and scrambled to add an 11thhour replacement. Readers won’t notice the difference, but the banker understands.

“It happens,” Varela says. “As much as we want to believe in the prospects of a small business, sometimes, for various reasons, they don’t make it.”

But many more do make it—and they thrive for decades. “Inside Sacramento” serves as a primer for success, featuring people such as Randy and Stacy Paragary, the Fat family, Matt and Fred Haines and Randall Selland, all of whose restaurants have been operating for decades. There’s Darrell Corti, whose family has been selling groceries since 1947, and Vic’s Ice Cream, which opened 69 years ago.

They endure because they evolve. And they evolve without losing their small-business spirit.

R.E. Graswich can be reached at

We are pleased to report GOLDEN PACIFIC BANK’S record earnings and awards recognition in 2016:

Golden Pacific Bank proudly reports record levels of earnings performance, achieving core profits for the first two quarters of 2016 of $537 thousand and .8 ROA, and yearend profits expected for the first time in many years, the best year yet!

On October 5, 2016 Golden Pacific Bank was recognized as a Top Ten Lender by the Small Business Association, making this the third consecutive year SBA recognized Golden Pacific Bank in its award celebrations.

In 2016 Golden Pacific Bank also ranks first in all of Northern California for SBA Export Lending, and fourth in the top California SBA export lenders as reported by the Office of International Trade and US Export Assistance Center.

SBA Top Ten Lender Awards 2016 Varela.jpg

Golden Pacific Bank CEO and President Virginia Varela accepts award from SBA District Director Joe McClure.


We support small businesses and pride ourselves on excellent service to all our customers.
Way to go, team Golden Pacific Bank!!!


Sept 16, 2016 - Sacramento Business Journal

Locally based banks earned $27.4 million through the first half of this year, a 15.9 percent increase over the first half of 2015.

Locally based banks earned $27.4 million through the first half of this year, a 15.9 percent increase over the first half of 2015.

Assets also increased, rising 9.2 percent from the first half of last year to reach $6.4 billion under local management.

The growth, driven by an increasing volume of loans, is an indicator of increased strength in the local economy. The 10 local banks had net loans of $3.2 billion on their books at June 30, up 19 percent from the same period last year.

Increasing loan demand is a barometer of increasing business confidence. Companies typically borrow money when they are expanding, and when they are confident enough that they can earn enough to service the debt. For years after the financial crisis, companies avoided that risk. They paid off their balances and didn’t borrow again until conditions improved.

Increasing loan demand also is a good sign for the banks, which earn more from making loans than from investments, which in the current market pay very little return.

In the second quarter, local bank earnings totaled $13.8 million, which is an 8.3 percent increase over earnings in the second quarter last year.

Nationally, banks saw net income in the second quarter of $43.6 billion, up 1.4 percent, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That means Sacramento banks’ earnings are trending ahead of the national aggregate.

Nationally, 4.5 percent of banks were unprofitable in the second quarter. In the Sacramento region, all banks earned money in both the second quarter and the first half of the year.

Banks locally are on track to earn a return on average assets of 0.86 percent this year, up from 0.81 percent at June 30 last year. A 1 percent return on assets used to be considered the benchmark of success in community banking, but few banks have come close to that since the near collapse of the banking system in 2008. Since then, new regulations and low interest rates have made banking less profitable.

The local aggregate ROA number is skewed by the 2.1 percent return on assets earned by Five Star Bank, which is a Subchapter S corporation and taxed as a partnership rather than as a corporation. That means the bank doesn’t pay federal taxes; its shareholders do.

The highest year-over-year growth in assets at local banks was 36.6 percent at Auburn-based Community 1st Bank, which grew assets from $232 million to $317 million.



July 23, 2016 - Sacramento Bee

When banks are struggling to make a profit, their shareholders often call in turnaround specialists such as Virginia Varela as a consultant or as a leader. Varela brings with her 30 years of experience as both a federal bank regulator and senior banking executive.

For nearly three years now, she has worked with the board of Sacramento’s Golden Pacific Bank to improve the institution’s finances. The bank had reported only one profitable quarter since 2010 before Varela arrived. Now it has four consecutive periods of profitability.

“I was an examiner or regulator for about 24 or 25 years,” Varela told me. “I’ve been literally to at least 100 banks: meeting boards, seeing the way banks work. So I was afforded a great opportunity to see the way a lot of different banks worked after so many decades of working with them.”

Since leaving the U.S. Treasury Department in 2009, Varela has been an executive at Bank of Rio Vista and Bank of the Orient in San Francisco. She was a part-time consultant for four months at Golden Pacific before the board offered her the position of president and chief executive officer...

Full Sacramento Bee Article continued HERE

Congratulations, Heather Luzzi, for winning 2016 SBA Financial Services Champion of the Year! 

The Sacramento Business Journal and Small Business Administration recognized our very own Heather Luzzi for Financial Services Champion of the year at the annual Small Business Awards breakfast.  You can view the article here

Heather Luzzi Standing

admore here:


(Official Newsletter of Mayor Kevin Johnson, June 2016)



Golden Pacific Bank won the top award at the Sacramento Niello Corporate Run on May 26, 2016 by finishing first in the Banking/Investments division. This is the second year in a row that GPB grabbed the first place prize for this category! GO TEAM GPB!!!

corp run 2016 team gpb


June 9, 2016 - (American Banker) Turnaround Captain: Banking veteran Virginia Varela prides herself on her ability to "right a ship that's either going down or is lost at sea." That's what she has done in her current job as the chief executive of the $127 million-asset Golden Pacific Bank in Sacramento, Calif., transforming it into one of the largest originators of Small Business Administration loans in its market. "A community bank understands small businesses because a community bank is a small business," she says. Varela also was one of the first female bank examiners for the U.S. Treasury Department and has worked at the Federal Reserve and Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.


June 6, 2016 - (Sacramento Business Journal) “A community bank understands small businesses because a community bank is a small business,” Virginia Varela is saying over lunch at the Sutter Club, of which she recently became a member. She’s walked the few blocks here from Golden Pacific Bank, where she’s president and chief executive officer.  This lady knows her banks, from practically every angle, having run four of them as well as serving as a banking regulator. She was also one of the first women in the country to work as a banking examiner for the U.S. Treasury Department and put in time with the Federal Reserve and Federal Home Loan banks of San Francisco. San Francisco is not only her hometown but also that of her family’s previous four generations.

I was introduced to Varela several days before our chat and requested both the interview and that she send me her bio. I almost laughed when I received it: she has so much experience in her industry — here, in Washington, D.C., and in San Francisco.

Varela works in the industry’s adventure zone: she’s a turnaround artist, highly regarded for her ability, as she explains it, to “right a ship that’s either going down or is lost at sea. To me, my work is like solving a puzzle or reshaping something to make it functional.”

In fact, this is what Varela did at Golden Pacific Bank, turning an institution that focused on consumer banking into a community business bank, one that helps small companies get started or, when necessary, re-infused with needed funds. “We do some of the smaller-size business loans that other banks won’t do,” she says, “even as low as $25,000.” Golden Pacific no longer does personal mortgage loans, she explains, “but we do construction loans, which I really enjoy.”

Just don’t consign Golden Pacific to the kids’ table. At the end of 2015, it was the third largest originator of loans in its Small Business Administration district — just behind U.S. Bank (number one) and Wells Fargo (number two).

“Yeah, we’re pretty competitive,” she says, grinning.

Varela says while she’s not “in the weeds, I really am a hands-on manager. That’s one of the differences between a community bank and a big-box bank. You get to know your customers and your team. Banking is really about people and interconnecting and helping bring success."

Varela is one of six siblings. She and her husband of 10 years, Malcolm Hotchkiss, who’s also a bank CEO (of Community Business Bank in Oakland), live in Land Park. She has four stepchildren and 12 step-grandchildren.

“To tell you the truth,” Varela says in a conspiratorial tone, “money’s not very important to me personally. But I like having enough of it and a great job just so I can buy them stuff.”


February 3, 2016 - Golden Pacific Bank ranks again as the top district community bank in SBA lending, as third in District for total SBA loans funded, and second in District for SBA total dollar amount funded from Oct to Jan 2016, topped only by two mega-banks. Once again we prove that Golden Pacific Bank is the leading District community bank providing needed funding to small businesses!



February 1, 2016 - History was made when Golden Pacific Bank and the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce partnered to form the "Golden Pacific Bank Business Center". The location in Marysville will be the first of its kind Business-Ecosystem and (a 2nd) home to YS Chamber, YS BizWorks (including incubator, / accelerator programs, & co-worker share spaces), YS SBDC, and much, much more.

More information coming soon — stay tuned!

Another way Golden Pacific Bank is working to support our community!



December 15, 2014 - (BUSINESS WIRE) -- NCR Corporation, the global leader in consumer transaction technologies, today announced that Golden Pacific Bank, a 27-year-old community bank in Sacramento, Calif., is rolling out mobile remote deposit capture as part of its mobile banking experience with Digital Insight, an NCR company. Consumers and small businesses banking with Golden Pacific will be able to deposit checks using their mobile banking app and their phone's camera.

"As a community bank, we base everything we do on strengthening our relationship with our customers," said Virginia Varela, CEO, Golden Pacific Bank. "When you are able to deliver products and services into your customers' hands – even on their phone – you are with them all of the time. Mobile deposit keeps our bank close at all times to our customers – especially small businesses that need fast access to their funds."

Full Story Here



November 13, 2012 - Golden Pacific Bank, NA announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded Golden Pacific Bank with the SBA Preferred Lender designation.

As an SBA Preferred Lender, Golden Pacific Bank has the ability to close and service government guaranteed loans in a streamlined and expedited manner, responsibilities granted to the Bank by the Small Business Administration based upon the Bank's knowledge of SBA policies and procedures, as well as their demonstrated experience with government guaranteed lending. In the past year, Golden Pacific Bank has established itself as one of the top SBA lenders in the Sacramento Region and throughout Northern California.

"Golden Pacific Bank is proud to achieve this designation from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our Bank is firmly committed to creating opportunities and providing the financial services to our business community that will help them grow and thrive in this challenging economy. With our Preferred Lender status we believe that we will be better able to serve this vitally important segment of our customer base," said Roy Malone, President of Golden Pacific Bank, NA.

Golden Pacific Bank offers SBA 7(a) and 504 loans, as well as United States Department of Agriculture Business and Industry Guaranteed loans (USDA B&I). Golden Pacific Bank's Government Guaranteed Lending department is headed up by Tom Sharp, VP/Government Guaranteed Lending. 

"Golden Pacific Bank is excited to expand our commitment to SBA Lending through SBA's 'Preferred Lender Program' or PLP," said Tom Sharp. "As a PLP lender, Golden Pacific Bank will enjoy 'delegated authority' to underwrite and approve SBA Loans on behalf of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Businesses applying at Golden Pacific Bank for an SBA Loan will experience a streamlined and expedited process from application to close. Golden Pacific Bank looks forward to serving small business loan needs in Northern California through an excellent partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration."