SOURCE: First California Financial Group

September 17, 2007 16:30 ET

First California Seeks New Chief Credit Officer

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - September 17, 2007) - First California Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCAL) today announced a search for a new chief credit officer. The company is seeking to replace Executive Vice President Robert Bartlett, who announced his resignation as chief credit officer.

"We appreciate the job Bob has done since coming to us from National Mercantile Bancorp as part of the merger," said C. G. Kum, president and CEO. "He helped ensure stability, quality and consistency of our lending operations in a challenging environment for banks. His leadership helped us transition from National Mercantile into the new First California."

"We have started the search for a new chief credit officer who will help take us to the next level of performance and growth. In the interim, we have an outstanding credit administration department that has performed very well and works closely together and with me. I will continue to oversee all lending operations, as I have in the past, which will ensure continuity of policies and practices." Kum pointed out that First California will incur a pre-tax charge of approximately $540,000 in the current period related to Bartlett's pre-existing severance arrangements.

Kum noted that the bank has continued to consistently make and close loans during the past several months, and that the business environment in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties has remained stable. "We remain cautiously optimistic about the markets we serve, which have continued to fuel growth in our commercial lending and core deposit businesses. We are carefully monitoring market conditions and staying in close touch with our clients to ensure we identify any potential problems as quickly as possible. We believe our strong underwriting, high credit quality standards and prudent lending policies will continue to stand us in good stead."

About First California

First California Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCAL) is an emerging force in Southern California banking. With assets exceeding $1 billion, the company operates throughout Southern California, primarily under the First California Bank brand. The bank's focus is the commercial market, particularly small- and middle-sized businesses and commercial real estate, development and construction concerns. With a commitment to provide the best client service available in its markets, the bank offers a full line of quality commercial banking products through 12 full-service branch offices and two loan production offices. The holding company's website can be accessed at www.fcalgroup.com. For additional information on First California Bank's products and services, visit www.fcbank.com.

Forward-Looking Information

This press release contains certain forward-looking information about First California that is intended to be covered by the safe harbor for "forward-looking statements" provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, and include statements related to the search for a new executive vice president and chief credit officer, the operation and oversight of First California's credit administration department and the effect of market conditions on First California's lending and core deposit businesses. Such statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond the control of First California. First California cautions readers that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, such forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the impact of the current national and regional economy on small business loan demand in Southern California, loan delinquency rates, the ability of First California and its subsidiaries to retain customers, interest rate fluctuations and the impact on margins, demographic changes, demand for the products and services of First California and its subsidiaries, as well as their ability to attract and retain qualified people, competition with other banks and financial institutions, and other factors. If any of these risks or uncertainties materializes or if any of the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements proves to be incorrect, First California's results could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by such forward-looking statements. First California assumes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. For a more complete discussion of risks and uncertainties, investors and security holders are urged to read the section titled "Risk Factors" in First California's Annual Report on Form 10-K and any other reports filed by it with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). The documents filed by First California with the SEC may be obtained at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. These documents may also be obtained free of charge from First California by directing a request to: First California Financial Group, Inc., 1880 Century Park East, Suite 800, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Attention: Investor Relations. Telephone (310) 282-6703.

Contact Information

  • For further Information:

    At the Company:
    Ron Santarosa
    805-322-9333

    At The Investor Relations Company:
    Tad Gage or Woody Wallace
    312-245-2700