Roller Coaster Enthusiast Jeff Hildebrandt Smooths the Ride for SBA and USDA Loan Applicants

Hildebrandt JeffWe’re pleased to announce that Jeff Hildebrandt has joined our Government Guaranteed Lending Department as Vice President and SBA/USDA Business Development Officer.

He is responsible for originating and developing Small Business Administration (SBA) 7a and 504 loans and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans for real estate transactions, commercial debt refinance, business purchases, working capital and franchises.

“Jeff has spent the last 10 years specializing in government guaranteed loans and even teaches SBA financing courses for banking and real estate professionals,” said Leticia Scearce, Senior Vice President and Government Guaranteed Lending Manager. “When we pledge to our clients to exceed their expectations, it’s because we have a high standard for the caliber of professionals we bring onto our team, and Jeff is a great example.”

Jeff most recently served as Vice President at Umpqua Bank in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for SBA business development. He is a member of Toastmasters International, Rotary International and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (where he often conducts educational classes about government guaranteed financing).

“Government guaranteed loans are a great option, offering lower payments and longer terms than conventional loans,” says Jeff. “Many banks pursue large loans rather than focusing on the small business owner. Grandpoint really supports my efforts to help small and mid-sized businesses secure these loans – most businesses with net income under $5 million of net income can apply.”

Many people assume that securing a government guaranteed loan is an onerous process. “We make it easy,” Jeff says. “The application is simple – we need some basic facts and figures and financial information.”

Our government guaranteed lending department handles the rest of the process, from letter of intent stage to closing, and typically responds to clients within a few days of receiving enough preliminary information to see if we can finance the request.

“Part of what attracted me to Grandpoint Bank is that it’s a bank catering to business owners and entrepreneurs,” he said. “We are strong supporters of our communities and growing businesses.”

Jeff’s passion for finance has also inspired him to volunteer with Junior Achievement, where he has spent time teaching elementary students about starting and operating a business. With Grandpoint Bank’s well-established support of Junior Achievement, Jeff will find plenty of opportunities to continue his involvement with this great educational organization that focuses on entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.

For fun, Jeff, his wife and two kids head to amusement parks, especially Six Flags Magic Mountain, where they like to let loose about once a month. “I’m a fan of the Full Throttle roller coaster,” Jeff said. “It clears your mind and is a great stress reliever.” The Hildebrandt family also enjoys swimming, tennis and music – especially singing, playing the guitar and piano.

We’re very pleased to add Jeff to our team and to offer our clients deep expertise in government guaranteed lending. We hope you’ll reach out to us if you’re interested in securing a SBA or USDA loan.

 

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Defenses Against Cybercrime

Through our work in cyber and information security, we have formed relationships with professionals at Secure the Villagescreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am and Citadel Information Group.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am They have kindly allowed us to post on our blog site some of the articles they have authored about cyber security. This articlescreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am provides a great overview of the business email compromise scam and how to avoid being taken in by it.

Business E-mail Compromise: Don’t Be a Victim

By Stan Stahl, PhD, President of Citadel Information Group, Inc. & Founder and President of Secure the Village

What to Do: Implement very strong controls on wire transfers

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 5.47.51 PMAssume all email or fax requests from a vendor to change bank accounts are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests from the company President or others are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests to set-up a new vendor are fraudulent. Pick up the phone, call the party in question and verify the request is legitimate.

If you discover you are a Business Email Compromise victim, immediately contact the FBI’s Southern California Cyber Fraud unit at sccf@leo.gov. They have established banking relationships and are often able to recover funds if they are notified within 72 hours.

And talk to your banker. Make sure they have your back.

It’s also a good idea to check with your insurance broker to ensure that business email compromise losses are covered.

Background

Not too long ago, email scams were relatively easy to detect. They were often from unknown contacts and referenced bank or credit card information which was clearly incorrect. Sometimes, the emails would simply contain a link. As time has passed, fraudulent attempts to gain control of your online banking, your critical information, and your identity have become more skillful and harder to spot. These days’ emails often appear to come from recognized accounts, are well written, and–at least at first glance–seem legitimate.

The newest — and one of the costliest — in a long line of fraudulent e-mail scams is “Business E-Mail Compromise” (BEC).

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a very sophisticated attempt to induce a business to willingly hand over their money to a cybercriminal. In Business Email Compromise (BEC), crooks spoof communications from executives or vendors at the victim firm in a bid to initiate unauthorized wire transfers.

According to the FBI, thieves stole nearly $750 million in such scams from more than 7,000 victim companies in the U.S. between October 2013 and August 2015. Business Email Compromise cost Ubiquiti Networks $46 million.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

Collectively, Business Email Compromise has resulted in actual and attempted losses of over a billion dollars worldwide. The FBI reports, “…since the beginning of 2015 there has been a 270 percent increase in identified BEC victims. Victim companies have come from all 50 U.S. states and nearly 80 countries abroad.”

BECs can target businesses working with foreign suppliers or regularly performing wire transfer payments, although they have also targeted some that do not strictly fit this criterion. In order to solicit unauthorized transfers of funds, the scams compromise legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques. Prior to making contact, the scammers learn enough about their target to create emails that use language specific to the company and request wire transfers that seem legitimate.

For more information on BECs, see https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/august/business-e-mail-compromise/business-e-mail-compromisescreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am and http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/08/fbi-1-2b-lost-to-business-email-scams/screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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Scott Armstrong Joins Grandpoint Bank as Senior Vice President/Specialty Deposits Manager

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 5.52.06 PMAs a young child, Scott Armstrong started out with a disadvantage.  He was born severely hearing impaired. Tumors on the back of his tympanic membranes prevented him from making sense of spoken language. It wasn’t until he was 4 years old that a doctor identified the cause of his problem and arranged for surgery and subsequent speech therapy. Scott credits his early struggles with language and eventual mastery of the essential skill that eluded him as a gift—a gift that has made him a terrific listener and problem solver.

If his current title of Senior Vice President/Specialty Deposits Manager title wasn’t available, Senior Problem Solver might be a good one for Scott. By focusing on specialty banking clients and asking them about their cash management pain points, Scott has revolutionized operations for many specialty entities throughout Southern California. In case you’re not familiar with the term, specialty banking clients include third party escrow clients, attorneys and M&A firms, title and escrow companies, cities and municipalities, nonprofits, school districts, homeowner associations and property management companies, Real Estate Investment Entities (including tenants in common and Delaware Statutory Trusts), 1031/1035 trust accounts and more.

“Our specialty banking clients are organizations that deal with other organizations’ or individuals’ money,” said Scott. “They act in a fiduciary capacity, holding funds for a period but not owning those funds. It’s often a one-to-many relationship. These deposit-only clients therefore have more complex cash management requirements.”

Scott has always approached the complexities presented by these clients as opportunities.

“When Scott works with an organization, he helps them uncover any pressing challenges that they might be experiencing through the course of business and helps them co-create a plan utilizing a banking or cash management solution to address those challenges, even if that plan includes creating an entirely new Grandpoint Bank service,” said John Nixon, Executive Vice President and Regional Manager at Grandpoint Bank.

This discovery process, says Scott, is what powers his passion for banking.

Scott’s interest in banking started to bloom in high school when he enrolled in a regional occupation program (ROP) banking class. While choosing the class at the time had more to do with a cute girl than it did a career choice, that decision ultimately paved the way to discovering his knack for banking and securing a Bank of America training course and then part-time job during and through college.

He parlayed that experience to serve most recently as Senior Vice President/Specialty Deposits Group Director at Community Bank in Pasadena and as Senior Vice President/Specialty Banking Group Director at CommerceWest Bank in Irvine. Scott has managed loan portfolios worth hundreds of millions of dollars in his past, as well as sizable deposit portfolios.

“One of the things that motivated me to join Grandpoint was the combination of their community bank size that allows for creative solutions and fast decisions along with their impressive financial strength and capacity,” Scott said. “I have always considered myself an outside the box, cutting-edge banker, and in Grandpoint I have found an organization that shares that passion for creativity and flexibility.”

In addition to his work at Grandpoint, Scott serves on the board for Kidsworks, a nonprofit organization serving the educational and life guidance needs of youth in low- to moderate-income areas. He is a member of several industry trade groups, including the Community Associations Institute, Escrow Institute of California, California Apartment Association, Federation of Exchange Accommodators and Building Industry Association of Southern California. Formerly, he served as treasurer for Inland Valley Recovery Services and as a board member for Upland YMCA.

Scott works from our Orange office and resides in Trabuco Canyon, just outside Rancho Santa Margarita, with his wife and five children. In his free time, Scott loves to do just about anything outdoors with his family, including sailing, fishing and camping.

Juggling five kids under 13-years old, board responsibilities and specialty banking clients throughout Southern California relying on him to weave his magic, Scott obviously likes to stay busy in a way that benefits everyone around him.

We are excited to have Scott on our team.

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Grandpoint Bank Hires Duke Sheow as Senior Vice President/Information Security Officer

Sheow Duke Portrait-r 05_2017We’re happy to announce that Duke Sheow has joined our bank as Senior Vice President/ Information Security Officer. Duke works in our downtown Los Angeles office and manages information security, policies and compliance for Grandpoint and its divisions—Bank of Tucson, Regents Bank and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona.

Duke previously served as Chief Credit and Operations Officer at Green Dot Bank in Pasadena and as Senior Vice President/Credit Risk Officer at First Regional Bank in Century City. Notably, he also spent 14 years as an examiner at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Los Angeles. His titles at the FDIC included senior information technology examiner and senior safety and soundness examiner.

Duke is focused on ways our bank and our clients can take steps to thwart hackers and criminals. Increased dependency on everything electronic has created a chain of virtual connections based on “trusted” relationships, and hackers will exploit each link until they find the weakest.

“Many businesses have alarms and cameras to protect their physical assets but have not invested in basic, low cost security measures for cyber-crime,” Duke said. According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, about half of all cyberattacks target small businesses because they are soft and easy targets.

“The threat of viruses, malware, ransomware and social engineering extend beyond our clients, too, and onto our friends, families and social media connections,” Duke said.

Over the past two years, Duke has volunteered his time with the Federal Reserve Board’s faster payments and secure payments taskforces, which organize professionals in banking, retail and regulatory agencies to collectively identify and evaluate faster payment systems in the United States, while also examining the safety of those payment systems.

“Duke’s extensive background in safety and soundness, as well as information security risks, is a great fit for our bank and an advantage for our clients,” said Susan Wahba, executive vice president and chief risk officer at Grandpoint Bank. “We pursue many initiatives to fortify our information security systems and educate our clients about security topics important to their businesses. Hiring Duke further strengthens our leadership in these areas.”

We particularly like the number one reason Duke cited for wanting to join Grandpoint Bank. “What has impressed me the most is the passion I hear in my co-workers’ voices when they talk about the bank and what we do.”

Duke attended the University of California at Riverside and completed the four-year Examiner Commissioning Program. He resides in La Canada with his family.

When he’s not working, Duke shares a love of sports with his three sons. His passion for football, in particular, landed him an appearance on “The Today Show” last year, when an essay he wrote about the sport and family won him free tickets to the Super Bowl.

We’re glad Duke is playing for our team now, drawing from his experience with technology, information security, banking and risk management to oversee our information security program. Welcome, Duke!

For more information about cyber security and steps you can take, visit the security and fraud section of our website.

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FBI: How to Protect Your Computer

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Below are some key steps to protecting your computer from intrusion, as detailed on the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ cybercrime webpage:

Keep Your Firewall Turned On: A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information. Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers. The software is prepackaged on some operating systems or can be purchased for individual computers. For multiple networked computers, hardware routers typically provide firewall protection.

Install or Update Your Antivirus Software: Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on your computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users’ knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.

Install or Update Your Antispyware Technology: Spyware is just what it sounds like—software that is surreptitiously installed on your computer to let others peer into your activities on the computer. Some spyware collects information about you without your consent or produces unwanted pop-up ads on your web browser. Some operating systems offer free spyware protection, and inexpensive software is readily available for download on the Internet or at your local computer store. Be wary of ads on the Internet offering downloadable antispyware—in some cases these products may be fake and may actually contain spyware or other malicious code. It’s like buying groceries—shop where you trust.

Keep Your Operating System Up to Date: Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure your computer has the latest protection.

Be Careful What You Download: Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know. They may have unwittingly advanced malicious code.

Turn Off Your Computer: With the growth of high-speed Internet connections, many opt to leave their computers on and ready for action. The downside is that being “always on” renders computers more susceptible. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection—be it spyware or a botnet that employs your computer’s resources to reach out to other unwitting users.

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/cyberscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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We’re celebrating 15 consecutive 5-Star ratings from BauerFinancial

march bauerIndependent rating and research firm BauerFinancialscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am has released its March 2017 bank ratings, giving Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, Bank of Tucson, Regents Bank and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, a fifteenth consecutive quarterly 5-Star rating for strength, stability and soundness.

Based on December 31, 2016 financial data filed with the government, only banks BauerFinancial considers to be the strongest in the nation earn the 5-Star rating. Four- and five-star banks appear on BauerFinancial’s Recommended Report.

BauerFinancial has rated banks since 1983 and is regarded as “the nation’s bank rating service.” Banks cannot pay to be rated nor opt out of being rated.

Criteria for earning the 5-Star rating include the strength of the institution’s capital ratios, profitability/loss trends, the level of delinquent loans and repossessed assets, the market versus book value of the investment portfolio, regulatory supervisory agreements, the community reinvestment rating (CRA) and liquidity.

Thank you to all our wonderful clients for your business and your trust. We’re a 5-Star bank because we work with 5-Star clients.

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Grandpoint Bank Makes $500,000 Equity Investment in Clearinghouse CDFI

Clearinghouse CDFI

As a community-focused bank, we are committed to helping build strong, stable businesses that create jobs, provide services and support healthy communities. In keeping with that mission, Grandpoint Bank has made a $500,000 equity investment in the Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution (Clearinghouse CDFIscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am). This investment will help Clearinghouse CDFI continue to provide community development lending in underserved communities in Southern California and Arizona.

“CDFI has the expertise and experience to identify critical needs in low-income and distressed communities and to create responsive and innovative solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives,” says Darlene Esquerra, Senior Vice President and Community Development Officer. “This relationship made perfect sense for Grandpoint, since Clearinghouse CDFI offers economic opportunities in so many of the same markets that we serve. Our investment will benefit these communities while supporting our overall community outreach program.”

Grandpoint Bank and 49 other financial institutions are “impact partners” whose investments increase Clearinghouse CDFI’s capacity to continue meeting unmet credit needs. At September 30, 2016, the institution had total assets of $339 million under management.

“We are thrilled to welcome Grandpoint Bank to our list of strong community partners,” said Douglas Bystry, Clearinghouse CDFI President and CEO. “We appreciate their significant investment in Clearinghouse CDFI and their mutual commitment to revitalizing our local communities.”

Over the course of 20 years, Clearinghouse CDFI has funded $1.4 billion in loans for over 1,780 projects, which have created or retained more than 16,000 jobs and benefit over 1.4 million individuals.

“This partnership is exciting, and it is a perfect fit with our bank’s community reinvestment act (CRA) strategy to give back to our communities in ways that are truly meaningful,” says Cynthia Mendoza, Senior Vice President and Compliance & CRA Officer.

Recipients of Clearinghouse CDFI financing include community facilities, affordable housing, commercial real estate, and small businesses. Additionally, Clearinghouse CDFI is one of largest participants in the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, with over $473 million of NMTC allocation deployed throughout California and Nevada. The NMTC Program helps economically distressed communities attract private capital by providing a Federal tax credit to investors.

Visit the Clearinghouse CDFI website here.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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2017 Economic Forecast from Beacon Economics

Recently, our Los Angeles and South Bay offices hosted an annual economic forecast featuring guest speaker Dr. Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics.  He shared his 2017 economic forecast with approximately 140 of our clients and guests, taking a look back at past trends and addressing the outlook for the global, national and California economic markets. You can view his presentation by clicking here.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

Browsing through the presentation will reveal Beacon Economics’ assessment of the economic impacts of the presidential election, the strong points and challenges of our current economy, useful employment and housing information and much more.

Dr. Thornberg is widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading economists. An expert in economic forecasting, regional economics, labor markets, economic policy and real estate analysis, he was one of the earliest and most adamant predictors of the subprime mortgage market crash that began in 2007. Prior to launching Beacon Economics, Dr. Thornberg was a senior economist with UCLA’s Anderson Forecast.

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Roger M. Laverty Named President of Grandpoint Bank

grandpoint_rocky_laverty_993_cropPlease join us in welcoming the new president of Grandpoint Bank, Roger M. “Rocky” Laverty. Rocky, a member of the Bank’s board of directors since its inception in 2010, has a distinguished business career, most recently serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of Farmer Bros. Co. He is also the former President and CEO of Smart & Final, Inc. and Diedrich Coffee, Inc., and he was a founding member and Chairman and CEO of Prime Advantage, Inc.

“Rocky is a remarkable businessman, and we are fortunate to have his leadership in guiding our bank’s growth across all of our markets,” says Don M. Griffith, Chairman and CEO of Grandpoint Capital, Inc., and Grandpoint Bank. “I’ve known Rocky for years, and his business acumen, his ability to identify and cultivate strategic growth opportunities and his track record of building successful businesses will be a tremendous benefit to Grandpoint.”

Rocky will remain on the bank’s board of directors.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the bank’s growth as a member of the board,” says Rocky. “It is now exciting to be on the frontlines, working with an exceptionally talented group of regional executives and their teams. I’m looking forward to contributing the experience I’ve garnered over the course of my career to support the bank’s internal growth and develop new product strategies.”

Rocky is a member of the Board of Trustees for Children’s Bureauscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am and for the Jean Perkins Scholarship Foundation,screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am which provides college scholarships to children of LA County Sheriff Deputies. He also serves on the board of the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation,screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am which provides ocean therapy to wounded warriors and veterans as well as at-risk youth.

Rocky attended Stanford University and Stanford Law School.

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