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JIM GLINES

Retiring CEO Jim Glines to Take on New Role for Community Bank of Santa Maria

Glines, who helped start the financial institution 14 years ago, will remain active as board chairman and with mentoring younger employees

“Retirement” for James “Jim” Glines won’t look like it does for other people. But then banking under Glines doesn’t look like it does for others in this era of big corporate financial institutions.

At the end of this year, Glines will step aside from his role as chief executive officer for Community Bank of Santa Maria, the financial institution he and William “Bill” Hares started 14 years ago.

“I don’t think the complexion, direction or the philosophy of the bank is going to change,” Glines said. “And we don’t want it to change.”

Not the type to retire to a rocking chair on the porch, Glines, 72, will remain very active in the bank — serving as chairman of the board and maintaining a desk in the main branch to continue working in marketing, business development and community relations along with mentoring younger community bankers.

“I’m not one to plant two trees close together in the backyard and sit in a hammock,” said Glines, father of four and grandfather of five. “I need to stay busy. I will stay very involved in the community as we have.”

Glines, an award-winning auctioneer and avid barbecuer, also expects to continue that community service on behalf of the bank.

“He is banking in the Santa Maria Valley,” Hares said of Glines. “Jim is a true community banker.”

Janet Silveria, an original staff member at Community Bank of Santa Maria, will take over as president and CEO. Hares will retire as board chairman but stay on as chairman emeritus. The changes take effect Jan. 1.

“Jim has been a wonderful mentor to me, but not only to me; he has impacted a lot of careers over his history of banking,” Silveria said, adding this will ensure his philosophy of banking continues. “I don’t think people realized that and how much his legacy will live on.”

The nephew of a longtime Santa Maria Valley banker, Glines intended to work on the family’s Rock Front Ranch off Highway 166 after graduating from Cal Poly, but his parents sold the property and retired. Instead, Glines joined Wells Fargo Bank on a management training program in 1966. 

He worked for Wells Fargo in Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley before returning to Santa Maria — ironically somewhat reluctantly in 1973.

“Honestly, there was something a little bit frightening about coming to your hometown and being a banker because you’re dealing with people you grew up with and did stupid things with, and proving yourself to the older generation,” he said. 

After 13 years with Wells Fargo, in April 1983 he joined the staff of Bank of Santa Maria where he remained until it sold in 1998 to Mid-State Bank (now part of Rabobank). He spent six months with Mid-State through the merger, and later a little more than a year at Hacienda Bank (since acquired by Heritage Oaks Bank).

In June 2000, Glines and Hares, Bank of Santa Maria’s former president, joined forces to bring back hometown banking, kicking off the legal process.

“We felt the need for a hometown community bank,” Glines said.

They secured regulatory approval, sold initial stock and opened the doors March 1, 2001, in a temporary site while waiting for the completion of the permanent home in a stand-alone building in a shopping center on Broadway between Stowell Road and Enos Drive.

The bank became profitable in its 22nd month of operation.

Yet, it hasn’t all been rosy. In 2009, the bank reported a loss of approximately $790,000 after having $1 million profit for two previous years.

While not in danger of shutting down or failing, Glines said, “It was scary.”

“That was a difficult year for us,” he added. “When you’re the CEO of the bank that’s eight years old you do a little three o’clock-in-the-morning soul searching about what’s happening to you and where you’re going.”

The losses were the result of a bad economy that saw real estate values drop as much as 60 percent so some commercial buildings, houses and home equity lines were underwater.

A year later, the bank ended in the black with profits of $25,000 and continues to operate in black. But he’s especially proud the recovery didn’t involve government assistance. 

“The way we did that was just common sense, hometown banking,” he added. “We didn’t take any TARP (federal Troubled Asset Relief Program) money. We didn’t ask for any assistance from anybody. We tightened up our belt, saw our way through the difficult times, stayed clean of regulatory issues and weathered the storm.”

Today, Community Bank of Santa Maria also has a branch in Orcutt plus a division dubbed Lompoc Community Bank. It also has an administration office on East Betteravia Road. In all, the bank employs 52 people and boasts $200 million in assets.

Hometown banking remains at the heart of the operation.

“Decisions are made local," he said. "When you confine your banking, especially loans, to a specific geographic area that’s home to you and that you understand and know, you tend to do a considerably better job and less risk.”

One of the bank’s ads touted, “Here your loan request goes across the lobby — not across the nation.”

“We don’t have to call people in faraway places to get things done, and I think that’s huge,” he added. “We understand the local economy and the local business.”

He remains very happy and a little bit surprised at the community bank he helped create.

“I’m very proud of the foundation we’ve built,” he said. “We have a very clean loan portfolio, a strong deposit base, excellent community involvement and excellent community support.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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