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Partners in Education: American Riviera Bank Lends Its Financial Support

The bank's five-year commitment to Computers for Families is just one way it serves the community

[Noozhawk’s note: The Santa Barbara Partners in Education relies on its President’s Council to help expand participation opportunities in our schools. As a proud member of the President’s Council, Noozhawk is helping to promote the organization with a series of features on our fellow members and their commitment — as businesses — to public education. We hope you’ll consider joining us on the council. Second in a series. Click here to read the first profile, on QAD.]

American Riviera Bank, 1033 Anacapa St., has been serving the lending and deposit needs of businesses and consumers in Santa Barbara since 2006. The founders of the bank are Santa Barbara locals who understand community needs and are successful, experienced professionals. Collectively, the executive management team boasts nearly a century of experience.

The bank has about 400 local shareholders and serves as a full-service community bank. It also has about $130 million in total assets. In January, American Riviera reported its most successful quarter ever, weathering the financial storm that challenged many financial institutions.

The bank reported unaudited net income of $228,000 for the quarter ending March 31, while reducing nonaccrual loans 45 percent from Dec. 31, 2009.

“With the highest capital ratio of any bank in Santa Barbara, we will be here for a long time to serve the loan and deposit needs of our community,” bank president and CEO Jeff DeVine said. “We continue to see a flight to safety as evidenced in the growth of our deposits. Our strong net interest margin will serve to further strengthen our bank today and into the future.”

American Riviera attributes the bank’s highest capital ratio in town to its mantra: “We take care of local residents because they take care of us.”

It does more than take care of the community by administering loans and deposits. As a member of Santa Barbara Partners in Education, American Riviera Bank has made a five-year financial commitment to donate to the Computers for Families project.

“It is a critical program,” said Michelle Martinich, the bank’s chief financial officer. “All children need the opportunity to learn to use a computer. It’s critical for their learning and their success as adults.”

She added that “the funds they receive go directly to the kids. We like to know that if we are going to give back its going directly to the community.”

Martinich also said that as a bank, American Riviera uses computers every day, so of course it understands the value of computer literacy. She encourages others to look for ways to take part in Partners in Education, either financially or with time.

“As a community bank, we want to make sure we do everything we can to see our community grow and flourish, which is exactly what Partners in Education is doing,” she said.

In addition to its work with Partners in Education, American Riviera Bank participated June 1 in the American Bankers Association’s Get Smart Credit program, to educate young people about things such as managing accounts, understanding a credit report, preventing identity theft and more.

“Credit has always been a new exploration for young adults, but now it’s more than new — it’s new and different,” said Laurie Meyn Leighty, senior vice president of operations and human resources.

In the past, American Riviera Bank has participated in the American Bankers Association’s National Teach Children to Save program as well. During April, bank employees visited local campuses to educate more than 650 students on the importance of being financially responsible. Lessons included games and activities about the concept of saving, how interest makes money grow, how to budget, and determining needs and wants. This year, the bank expanded its program to run for the entire month to reach more students, utilizing all 19 employees, including all four executive officers.

Any company has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 25. Click here for more information about Partners in Education. Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnuson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In addition to American Riviera Bank, current President’s Council members are ABC-CLIO, AT&T Foundation, ATK Space Systems, Bacara Resort & Spa, Coastal Management Resources, Community West Bank, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, Earl Warren Showgrounds, ExxonMobil Production Co., Frank Schipper Construction Co., MedBridge Development, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, QAD, Rabobank, Raytheon, Santa Barbara Axxess, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Catering Co., Maryan and Richard Schall, Southern California Edison, Venoco Inc. and Verizon.

Noozhawk intern Lindsey Weintraub will be a sophomore at the University of San Diego in the fall. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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