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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Refinance Your Conventional Business Loan into a SBA 504 Loan

leticia-scearce_biltmore-bankThe SBA Debt Refinance Program is back! Does your small business have a maturing or high-cost conventional loan for real estate, buildings or equipment? The long-term, fixed rate financing available through the SBA Debt Refinance Program can help small businesses that face significant balloon payments, require financial flexibility or want to take cash out from appreciating assets for expansion.

Under the new program, small businesses that refinance into a SBA 504 loan can take advantage of lower rates, fixed for 20 years, to lighten their monthly debt payments, improve cash flow and stabilize operations.

These parameters can help determine whether this program might be a good fit for your business:

  • The debt to be refinanced must be at least two years old.
  • The debt to be refinanced must be current during the last 12 months.
  • Eligible small businesses can obtain up to 90 percent financing for secured debt and qualified business debt.
  • Eligible fixed assets include real estate and equipment.
  • Cash out for operating expenses, including debt consolidation, is limited to 75 percent loan-to-value.
  • Cash out can be used for eligible business expenses (salaries, rent, utilities, inventory).
  • Existing government guaranteed loans are not eligible to be refinanced.
  • The eligible debt being refinanced is for the outstanding principal balance.

Other conditions or qualification requirements may apply. 

For those considering applying for a new loan, we offer a variety of government guaranteed loan products that require less cash investment up front and offer longer loan terms, which can help bridge the gap for businesses that otherwise would not have access to capital.

  • SBA 7(a), 504 and 504 refinance
  • SBA Export Express Export Working Capital International Trade
  • USDA Business & Industry Loans Food Desert Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
  • Export Import Bank of U.S.

If you would like more information on the SBA 504 Refinance Program or any of our government-guaranteed loan products, please contact Leticia Scearce, Senior Vice President/Government Guaranteed Lending Manager, at lscearce@biltmorebankaz.com or (602) 445-6511.

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Happy 2017!

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This New Year, thank the ancient Babylonians. The idea of observing a special day as the New Year was theirs, as many as 4,000 years ago, and it is considered the oldest of all holidays. Observing the New Year on January 1 is somewhat arbitrary, but the Roman senate first declared this date as the New Year in 153 BC.

The Babylonians were also the first to come up with the idea of New Year’s resolutions. These days, cultures throughout the world have their own New Year’s traditions (and observance dates). While watching the 1,200-pound Waterford Crystal ball drop in New York City is a common tradition in the U.S., the Spanish eat 12 grapes at midnight to encourage 12 happy months in the coming year.

In Britain, when the clock strikes midnight, everyone sings the Scottish song ‘Auld Lang Syne,” which means ‘times gone by’ and was written by Robert Burns in the 1700s. In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck.

In Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico, families may stuff a large doll, called Mr. Old Year, with memories and clothes from the past year. At midnight, they light him on fire to burn away the bad memories. (May we suggest checking local regulations before you burn an effigy in your yard?)

The Japanese hold Bonenkai or “forget-the-year parties” throughout December to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning.

Some parts of the Middle East and Asia celebrate Nowruz (or New Day), albeit in spring. Celebrations often include bonfires and egg dying.

If you find yourself celebrating the New Year by using noisemakers and setting off fireworks (again, check the regulations, folks) to celebrate the New Year, you have that in common with people in ancient times, who believed that loud noises would scare off evil spirits and bring good luck.

No matter how you celebrate the New Year, all of us at Grandpoint Bank wish you peace, prosperity and happiness for 2017.

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Helping Concept 7 Give Gifts to Foster Kids is Part of Our Holiday Tradition

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Concept 7screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am
is one of the wonderful philanthropic organizations Grandpoint Bank supports in the communities we serve. Through 40 years of exceptional services, shaped in response to the needs of abused and neglected youth and to the best practices of care, Concept 7, a fostering and adoption agency in Los Angeles, provides a continuum of family-centered treatment and support-related programs. Concept 7 offers services to over 1,500 youth and families annually.

Concept 7 was founded on the idea that effective programs to heal must include the seven concepts of rescue, recognition, relationship, responsibility, respect, resolution and renewal.

To celebrate the holidays, Grandpoint Bank’s Orange office has teamed up with Concept 7 again this year to purchase gifts for foster children. During the first few weeks of December, the Grandpoint team fulfills holiday wishes of many Concept 7 foster children, who range in age from infants to teens.

We invite our clients, friends and neighbors who would like to donate gifts to contact Concept 7 to design a giving program that fits your interests.

The Concept 7 staff can provide you with a detailed account of several gift ideas for each child in need, accompanied by their favorite stores and colors, as well as their clothing and shoe sizes so that donors can select the perfect gift to light up their holiday.

And if you can’t give now, Concept 7 and the children and families it serves are in need of gifts and support throughout the year. This includes a need for volunteers. Volunteers provide supportive services to augment the Foster Care and Clinical Services programs. Opportunities include tutoring, transportation, clerical support, mentoring, child care providers and social worker assistant.

Happy holidays!

Concept 7
(323) 838-9566
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Happy Thanksgiving

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It was 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared a fall harvest meal, regarded by most as the first Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until 1863, however, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day.

Those very early colonists were faced with a harsh New England winter in their first year, which brought malnutrition, illness and death. The kindness of an American Indian who spoke English, which he learned during his time as an English sea captain’s captive, went a long way toward preventing more colonist deaths.

That man, Squanto, taught the colonists how to cultivate and collect food in their new homeland. He also helped them forge an alliance with the local tribe, the Wampanoag; an alliance that endured for more than 50 years.

Historians speculate that the 1621 Thanksgiving menu, shared between the settlers and their new friends, probably included fowl of some sort as well as deer and corn. With no oven and a dwindling sugar supply, cakes and pies were almost certainly not on the menu.

Despite the fact that approximately 90 percent of Thanksgiving meals now feature turkey, the wildfowl served at the first Thanksgiving meal was probably goose or duck.

As traditions have evolved, one or two lucky turkeys get pardoned by the U.S President each year, which started in the mid 20th century. Some state governors do the same for turkeys in their respective states. Over time, parades and volunteering have also became part of the U.S. Thanksgiving tradition.

However you celebrate Thanksgiving, whatever you include in your feast and whomever you invite to your table, from all of us at Grandpoint Bank, we hope this Thanksgiving fills your heart, as well as your belly, and that we all reflect on the charity and friendship exemplified by that first Thanksgiving celebration.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Veterans Day, 2016

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Our great nation was founded on the belief that everyone is created equal and that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights. At times in our history, as will surely be the case in our future, brave men and women have been called upon to defend those rights and ideals.

Today we celebrate those individuals who have given their time, their skills and even their lives, to protect our safety, freedom and way of life.

To all the members of the United States military, past, present and future, thank you for your service. No one better demonstrates than you the closing line of the Declaration of Independence: “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Happy Veterans Day

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Grandpoint Bank Promotes Karen McGuire to Executive Vice President

karen-mcguireCongratulations to Karen McGuire, manager of Grandpoint’s Construction Lending Department, who just earned a well-deserved promotion to Executive Vice President.

Karen is responsible for helping Grandpoint Bank and our divisions, Bank of Tucson, Regents Bank and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, expand our construction lending loan portfolio. She is based at Grandpoint’s Irvine office and oversees a seasoned and talented construction lending staff. Her duties include analyzing and underwriting all of the bank’s construction loan requests. This includes evaluating both standard and complex construction loan transactions, interfacing with clients, handling the construction loan disbursements once a loan is approved and visiting project sites.

According to Karen, currently, the demand for construction lending for multifamily properties is especially strong throughout the nation. In the markets that Grandpoint Bank and our divisions serve, Karen says the strongest demand is coming from Los Angeles and the Portland, Oregon/ Vancouver, Washington market. Karen’s team is also currently seeing a lot of lending activity and demand from the hospitality and single family real estate sectors in many of the bank’s existing markets.

Karen’s best advice for would-be loan applicants? If you’re looking for construction financing, start the loan application process sooner rather than later.  Assuming your loan application is complete, the approval process can be as short as 60 days, but compiling a complete loan application can take longer than many people anticipate due to the additional amounts of information and analysis required.

Your local relationship manager, along with Karen and her staff, will work with you to help you understand what is needed and what to include in your application. You’ll also benefit from the incredible depth of experience our loan underwriters have and can contribute to your construction project and process. You can depend on our team to bring a sophisticated understanding to your objectives and the business of construction.

“My team and I don’t consider our work done once a loan is approved,” says Karen. “Someone from our construction lending team will go to the building site once every two to three months so that we continue to understand not only the project but also our clients’ needs and achievements.”

Karen counts the AC Hotel Tucson by Marriott (currently under construction) as one of her most notable construction loans to date. Though it was a complex project, involving two different loans and some required environmental remediation, the loan was ultimately closed based in large part on the entire team’s “can-do” attitude. The 136-room hotel with 5,000-square-feet of ground floor retail will soon give new life to the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway in downtown Tucson.

“We are very fortunate to have Karen and her staff, all of whom have considerable previous experience in complex structured financing,” said Mark Phillips, Executive Vice President & Chief Credit Officer of Grandpoint Capital. “When Karen started with us, we had one construction loan on the books. Now we’re making construction loans in three states, with loans amounts up to $40 million and greater.”

For more information about construction loans, please contact your local banking office, your relationship manager or Karen McGuire at 949-483-8388.

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Aida Baboudjian Celebrates 30 Years with Grandpoint

baboudjian_aidaWe have quite a milestone to celebrate this month. Grandpoint Bank relationship manager and vice president Aida Baboudjian is celebrating her 30-year anniversary with us!

She is a motivated and dedicated professional who believes in pushing herself to be the best commercial lender and information source for her clients. She always demonstrates great respect for her clients and co-workers.

Her first interview, in 1986 with our predecessor bank, Gilmore Bank, lasted about 45 minutes, with 40 of those minutes spent discussing Armenian food. There was obviously an immediate connection, and she has proven to be part of our recipe for success over the span of three decades.

Interacting with a diverse array of clients and co-workers is something Aida cites as a driving factor for why she has remained with our bank for 30 years, since joining as a credit checker. Originally from Armenia, she has put her tri-lingual skills to work (she also speaks Russian), especially with the Russian business community near our office on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles’ Mid-Wilshire community, where Aida works.

With the iconic Farmers Market nearby, Aida also works with an array of shop and restaurant owners from the market. “I love the cultural diversity that surrounds me,” says Aida. “My clients and coworkers have come from so many different places.”

Aida originally came to the U.S. after meeting her husband while attending State Engineering University of Armenia, where she earned a master’s degree in Engineering.

She thought her first job state-side would be in computer programming, which she studied at the Computer Learning Center in Los Angeles. A friend turned her onto a job opening at a bank instead. The rest is history, and Aida says, “I never looked back.”

The secret to finding a place you are content to work for 30 years? Aida feels like she’s an important part of the Grandpoint organization and that has made a tremendous difference to her.

“My boss and the management team here really care about me and trust me,” she said. “I always feel comfortable approaching anyone at our bank with my questions and ideas.”

She also appreciates the challenges she’s able to tackle for her clients. “Sometimes the challenge helps you to focus and get things done,” she said.

Happy 30th anniversary, Aida!

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