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Merging Banks Unanimously Agree on Name ‘American Riviera Bank’

Part of the new American Riviera Bank Team include, from left, Jillian Lipinski, Bobby, Boyes, Evelyn Torres, Andrew Chung, Joanne Funari, Jeff DeVine and Stephanie Frost. Click to view larger
Part of the new American Riviera Bank Team include, from left, Jillian Lipinski, Bobby, Boyes, Evelyn Torres, Andrew Chung, Joanne Funari, Jeff DeVine and Stephanie Frost. (Jennifer Goddard / American Riviera Bank photo)

Following the recent announcement of their definitive agreement to merge, American Riviera Bank and The Bank of Santa Barbara commissioned a locally based firm, Idea Engineering, to conduct a branding study. 

As a result of the findings, both banks are excited to announce that the unanimous decision for the name of the merged bank will be: American Riviera Bank. 

The study included interviews with the banks’ directors, employees and customers as well as community members. Past press releases, press coverage and advertising was reviewed as well as current website and social media presence to assess overall brand impact in the community to date and prospective impact going forward.

“The decision on naming was not taken lightly,” according to Jeff DeVine, President and CEO of American Riviera Bank. “Both banks have strong brand loyalty within their client base and are attached to their existing names for good reasons. However, after reviewing the branding study it was concluded that the ‘new’ American Riviera Bank is a name that best embodies our culture and is a brand that can be further developed over time even with geographic expansion.” 

Next steps include submitting all necessary applications to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) as well as drafting proxy materials for the shareholders of both banks.

On Oct. 27, 2015, American Riviera Bank and The Bank of Santa Barbara will hold separate shareholder meetings to vote on the merger. Once shareholder approvals are obtained, the FDIC and DBO will have final approval authority for the merger which is anticipated to close on Jan. 1, 2016.

“The selection of American Riviera Bank as the ‘new’ name was a uniting moment for the entire team, and we look forward to obtaining approvals and seamlessly integrating the two banks,” said Joanne Funari, interim CEO of The Bank of Santa Barbara and eventual chief operating officer of the proposed bank. “We all realize the name is secondary to delivering the service our clients are accustomed to and being the very best community bank that existing and prospective customers want to be a part of.” 

The merged American Riviera Bank will be the second largest community bank based in the City of Santa Barbara and will serve local businesses and consumers with branches in downtown Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta.  

The combined bank will offer full-service mortgage and small business lending departments and will have a legal lending limit of approximately $10 million, which is higher than either institution previously held. 

For now, it’s business as usual at American Riviera Bank and The Bank of Santa Barbara. 

Clients should continue to utilize their existing branches, ATMs, check supplies and deposit slips at the branch locations of their current bank. 

In early 2016, customers will have the ability to utilize any branch location and ATM of either bank. 

— Jennier Goddard is a publicist representing the new American Riviera Bank.


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