Friday, November 16 , 2018, 4:43 am | Fair 47º


Don Toussaint of Rabobank Puts Stock in Service, Staying Power and Business Sense

Commercial banking executive believes he has found the right fit with the right bank at the right time

Don Toussaint, executive vice president and head of commercial and retail business banking for Rabobank, has seen the banking world become much more complex and regulated during a career that spans more than three decades.

Don Toussaint
Don Toussaint

“The (banking) environment has changed an awful lot,” he said. “The industry has become more sales-oriented over the years, which I have enjoyed. More recently, we’ve been more disciplined on the credit side.”

Toussaint said he believes Rabobank has the staying power to weather the economic challenges of the past few years.

“Fortunately, we have a very strong parent company and can weather most things,” he said. “We’ve been consistently profitable for 112 years, and we have a lot of staying power. The credit crisis has affected us as well. A lot of our borrowers are a lot weaker because it’s been challenging for them. It’s nice to be with a bank with the staying power of Rabobank.”

Toussaint began his banking career with Bank of America in Los Angeles and joined Security Pacific in 1979. He later moved to San Francisco, where he spent 11 years running commercial banking for Security Pacific National Bank in the Bay Area.

Toussaint then moved back to New England, where he grew up, to serve as the regional president for the Bank of Boston. In 1999, he was approached by the CEO of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and asked to come back to the South Coast to run commercial banking for Pacific Capital Bancorp. He said he jumped at the opportunity to return to Santa Barbara.

In 2009, Toussaint became president of Rabobank’s South Central Coast Region, and last November, he was promoted to run commercial banking for Rabobank for all of California.

“It’s nice to be able to do the job from Santa Barbara,” Toussaint said. “It’s just a wonderful place to live and work. (My wife and I) always wanted to get back to this area, and it’s great to be back living in a nice community and working for a big company like Rabobank.”

He said Rabobank’s large presence and ability to make an impact worldwide drew him to the institution.

“It’s a statewide role, which I enjoy, focused on commercial banking,” Toussaint said. “It’s with a strong organization that has tremendous worldwide capabilities. We have a great capacity to lend and tremendous capabilities in areas like public finance, solar financing and derivatives. There are capabilities of a larger bank that you don’t always get at a smaller bank.”

Apart from pursuing wide-reaching commercial banking aspirations, Toussaint is also a board member for several local institutions of higher education. Having earned a master’s degree in business administration from UCLA, Toussaint said he has always had an interest in higher education and has been involved with colleges for his entire career. He has served on the board of directors for the Westmont College Foundation for 10 years, in addition to holding board positions for the California Lutheran University Business School’s Forecasting Project and the Economic Development Cooperative of Ventura County.

Toussaint said that during the economic crisis, companies that cut expenses early on fared the best.

“Companies sensed that revenue was going to be difficult, and they cut expenses to the bone. Companies that did that early on are now doing well and were able to survive because of that,” he said. “Companies that didn’t cut their expenses early on found it difficult to control revenue growth. The situation weeded out weaker players and created opportunities for stronger players.”

With Rabobank, Toussaint said he feels like he has positioned himself as a strong player in commercial banking.

“I’m delighted to be with Rabobank at this stage in my career,” he said. “I’m glad to be working with a bank that provides its customers with sophisticated services.”

Noozhawk business writer Taylor Orr can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkBiz, @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Cimme Eordanidis
Cimme Eordanidis
"Since I truly enjoy doing what I do, interacting with people and representing them during one of life's most exciting events is very rewarding."

Full Profile >