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Business

Pacific Capital Bancorp Sets Tuesday News Conference

Embattled parent of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust plans to discuss recapitalization with new investor

Pacific Capital Bancorp officials said Friday that they plan to hold a news conference at their Santa Barbara headquarters at 3 p.m. Tuesday with the man whose Texas firm wants to buy 91 percent of the embattled company’s stock.

The event is to discuss Pacific Capital’s “recapitalization” after the company has lost some $500 million, mostly from bad commercial real estate loans in the past few years. Pacific Capital is the parent company of 50-year-old Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and a half-dozen other California financial institutions.

Earlier this year, billionaire banker Gerald J. Ford, the managing member of Dallas-based Ford Financial Fund L.P, said he would bail Pacific Capital out. Since then, federal regulators told the company it had to meet capital ratios by Sept. 8 or liquidate the company.

Carl B. Webb, senior principal with Ford Financial, and George S. Leis, president of Pacific Capital, also are expected to attend the news conference.

Federal officials have refused to comment on Pacific Capital’s situation except to say they have no confidence in its ability to meet capital ratios without a new investor.

Pacific Capital’s stock has been on a roller-coaster ride this month, closing Friday at 88 cents a share. The stock, trading at more than $5 a year ago, has slumped to as low at 61 cents, but traded at almost $2 in the past week.

Noozhawk business writer Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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