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Patricia Parc: Financing an exciting new rental community

Simi Valley is on track to get 65 much-needed, new rental units, and we’re part of the team making it happen.

Chris Itule, principal of Itule Real Estate Group partnered with Norman Doerges and Randall Gustafson of Aurora Development Company and long-time Grandpoint Bank clients Adrian Stern and Larry Clumeck of Clumeck Stern Schenkelberg & Getzoff, to form 1196 Patricia Avenue Association.

Having earned approval to develop the property, the development team held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 1, where representatives from our bank were on hand to lend support and help celebrate this exciting milestone.

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(l to r) Larry Clumeck, Randy Gustafson, Simi Valley Mayor Bob Huber, Chris Itule and Adrian Stern

With help from our Construction Lending division, bankers in our Encino office were able to provide the construction loan for the project, known as Patricia Parc. The 24-month, interest only loan with a six-month extension option gives the developers time to complete the project before converting to a permanent phase at completion.

“It’s really exciting to work with developers from vision to finished product, literally seeing your work take form,” said Arlet Hur, Senior Vice President at Grandpoint Bank. “This development team really seems to know its target customer and understand the critical need for rental housing in Simi Valley.”

With Simi Valley’s median home prices ranging upwards of $600,000, many people, especially Millennials, face significant financial hurdles to home ownership. High quality rental properties are in great demand.

The three-story Patricia Parc community will offer one- and two-bedroom units and many amenities popular with Millennials. Those include electric vehicle charging stations, free Wi-Fi, bike lockers, a pool and gym, an outdoor kitchen, access to the Arroyo Simi Greenway and a dedicated rideshare drop-off and pickup area, among others. Patricia Parc is located less than one mile from Simi Valley Town Center and less than five miles from the Simi Valley Metrolink Center.

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Five of the units will be designated as affordable for very-low-income tenants, and at least seven units will be handicapped accessible. Project completion is estimated for late fall or winter of 2018. 1196 Patricia Avenue Association has selected McCarthy Companies to construct Patricia Parc.

We’re eager to watch this exciting project take form and to help facilitate new housing options for members of our community.

For more information about construction lending through Grandpoint Bank, please visit the products and services page of our website at grandpointbank.com/product-and-services-commercial-banking-credit-and-financing.

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Thanksgiving

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With crisp air and colors on the trees, we know another year is soon behind us. But first, we gather to celebrate, count our blessings and reflect. Thanksgiving is unlike any other holiday we celebrate. It’s a day to gather with those we love and the friends we hold dear; a day to share a meal and to share each other’s company.

Whether your Thanksgiving celebration is near or far, large or small, we at Grandpoint Bank wish you a wonderful day, filled with cheer and the warmth of the holiday season.

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Grandpoint Bank donates $10,000 to U.S. Vets

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Members of our staff recently toured the Long Beach campus of U.S. Vets, an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life by providing housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support. Our visit included the presentation of a $10,000 donation to the organization.

According to U.S. Vets, about 50,000 vets in our nation are homeless – men and women who have served valiantly for our country and now find themselves sleeping on the streets.

“Beyond the essentials, what I saw during our visit is that U.S. Vets is giving veterans back their self-respect,” says Darlene Esquerra, Senior Vice President & Community Development Office of Grandpoint Bank. “Everyone is treated with kindness by staff members and volunteers, who, in many cases, have had the same experiences as the veterans.”

U.S. Vets is the largest organization of its kind addressing the needs of homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the U.S. Their Long Beach facility is located on 25 acres of former Naval housing and offers a variety of permanent and transitional housing – including a building for women veterans with up to two children and housing for homeless vets — dining facilities, community center, clinic, classrooms, recreational facilities and even an urban forest where residents can pick fruits and vegetables.

“Grandpoint Bank’s support of our programs across Southern California makes it possible for us to fill the gaps and really meet the unique needs of each one of the veterans we serve,” said Laney Kapgan, Vice President of Development and Communications for U.S. Vets. “With more service men and women coming home than ever before, this investment will help us continue to expand not only housing but also key employment and mental health programs for our veterans.”

Grandpoint was introduced to U.S. Vets through our Executive Vice President and CCO Mark Phillips, who struck up a conversation with U.S. Vets National Director of Programs, Larry Williams, on an airplane. Mark was so impressed with the program, he referred the information for consideration as a Grandpoint Bank Community Reinvestment Act-qualified donation. The rest, as they say, is history.

You can find more information about U.S. Vets on their website usvetsinc.org.

We’re proud to salute U.S. Vets for helping so many vets and their families, and we thank all the members of our armed services, past and present, for their dedication and selflessness.

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Moving Mountains for an Organization that Builds Bridges

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When parents can find quality, affordable childcare, it can literally change their lives. No one knows that better in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino area than Child Care Resource Center (CCRC). The organization builds bridges between local families and the services they need.

We are proud to be an integral part of CCRC’s recent purchase of a building in the Antelope Valley. We attended the ribbon cutting on September 27th and celebrated CCRC’s purchase of 250 Grand Cypress Avenue in Palmdale with the CCRC staff and other community supporters. CCRC was already leasing the building to house some of its administrative functions, and watching them transition to owning the building was tremendously rewarding.

Using Municipal Bond financing, CCRC secured a loan through Grandpoint Bank to buy the building and ensure that more than 70 members of its staff could remain at that location. This seamless transition in location means nothing will interrupt their good work to provide child care financial assistance, training, technical assistance and other workforce development opportunities. The CCRC staff at this location also work with the Palmdale School District to offer Head Start preschool and wraparound services.

By using this unique loan structure and transitioning to mortgage payments rather than lease payments, CCRC will reduce its costs. Any boost to the bottom line means an already phenomenal agency can provide even more help to tens of thousands of families each month, such as securing childcare referrals, sending parents back to work, reducing childhood obesity and generally supporting the welfare of children throughout Northern Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

“CCRC had some special loan requirements, so we all moved mountains to make sure the organization could rely on Grandpoint to support the type of loan that would best suit the long-term sustainability of the organization and to provide the banking services it needed,” said Arlet Hur, Senior Vice President at Grandpoint Bank.

Grandpoint and its divisions work with many non-profit organizations throughout Southern California, Arizona and Western Washington.

“We genuinely love working with non-profit organizations, and we’ve tailored a lot of our services specifically to them, including our non-profit money market account,” Arlet added.

Founded in 1976, CCRC services a 22,500-square-mile area and provides tens of thousands of child care referrals each year. The organization maintains a book/toy/resource lending library; offers programs for combatting obesity; provides preschool education, meals and medical and vision exams for kids; offers training to help childcare providers, other non-profits and families; promotes literacy through various programs; and even provides gifts for kids who may not otherwise receive any.

To learn more about how you can support CCRC and its wonderful programs, visit its website at ccrcca.org.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-amLinking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

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Building a packaging industry leader around an out-of-the-box idea

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Working in banking provides a unique opportunity to learn about many, diverse businesses that help power regional and even national economies. Our client U.S. Merchants Financial Group and Diversified Repackaging (USM), which operates from a corporate office located in Beverly Hills, Calif., and five manufacturing, packaging and distribution facilities throughout North America, is a great example.

USM creates something almost everyone has seen but which most of us take for granted since it has become such a ubiquitous part of the warehouse club and “big box” shopping experience. Think Costco®, Sam’s Club®, B.J.’s® Wholesale Clubs, Walmart® and Target®.

USM pioneered and patented the Pallet Program system in which popular consumer products are packaged and presented for sale on stacked pallets. The store simply removes the exterior wrap, and the product is ready to be merchandised. Beyond the ingenuity of creating this streamlined packaging model, USM’s success was forged in part because the company offers customers a turnkey solution that includes everything from package and graphic design to manufacturing and distribution. This enables them to offer clients a consistently superior level of quality and service, and to remove the worry of managing a multi-company supply chain. Over the years, the company has built strong relationships with retail buyers and executives, who rely upon USM owners Jeff and Marie Green not only for services, but also for advice about nearly every aspect of retailing, packaging and distribution. The Greens also consider manufacturers and warehouse club members as important stakeholders in the success of their business.

In addition to its Pallet Program, the company also manufactures a popular line of plastic consumer storage containers under the Greenmade™ brand name that are sold at major retailers across the United States.

When Jeff and Marie founded USM in 1983, they built the business upon strong customer relationships and exacting standards of quality and integrity. It’s an approach shared by Grandpoint Bank and Jocelyn Pastore, Regional President, who oversees the bank’s Los Angeles region.

The Greens began banking with Grandpoint in 2010. Grandpoint has provided financing for the Greens and their business ever since. The flexible financing offered by Jocelyn and the Grandpoint team has helped the Greens advance their personal and business goals and propagate the “Jeff Green Standard” — a high standard of design, manufacturing and delivery of products to USM’s retail customers. Facilities are immaculate, with meticulous attention to quality and detail that fuels a thriving and expanding operation. The Greens apply this high standard to all that they do, including the management of their personal and business real estate assets.

As successful, self-made business owners, Jeff and Marie are committed to their employees. When it was time to expand their Ontario, Calif. operations, they chose to remain in the community in order to retain the employees who work at that location. In late 2015, Grandpoint provided the financing for the plant expansion at USM’s Ontario location, helping them to add to their 270,000 square-foot operations by purchasing a second, 182,000-square-foot building.

We’re proud to work with the Greens and so many other local business people who are providing products, resources and employment opportunities to our communities.

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Leon Woods selected as Junior Achievement of SoCal Volunteer of the Year!

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(From l to r): Eric Carlson, JA Director of Development; Denise Palafox, Executive Assistant to the President; Leon Woods; Hasani Johnson, JA Finance Park Program Manager; Kat Delgado Kirkwood, JA Interim President & CEO

We are pleased to announce that Junior Achievement of Southern California selected Leon Woods, VP and portfolio manager in our L.A Region, as its 2017 Volunteer of the Year!  It is because of dedicated volunteers like Leon that Junior Achievement is able to fulfill its mission to help students understand the importance of managing their money, planning for their future, and becoming active leaders in their future careers and communities.

Last year, we wrote on our blog about the many volunteers from our bank who participated with 120 high school juniors and seniors of Lennox Academy as they made their way through Junior Achievement’s Finance Park program. With their “adult for a day” duties, we helped the students learn about the world of personal finance through simulation exercises involving financial concepts like banking, budgets, careers, credit, debt, interest rates, income, investments and taxes.

When Leon was honored at Junior Achievement of SoCal‘s Annual Meeting, the organization’s leadership noted Leon’s exceptional ability to engage with the kids at Finance Park and help them understand the empowering opportunity they had to learn about personal and business financial skills.

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(from l to r): Hasani Johnson, JA Finance Park Program Manager; Leon Woods; Monique Johnson, JA Board Member & Education Chairperson

“I feel like it’s a homerun,” says Leon, “if I get through to these kids so they can also extend what they’ve learned to their peers, their siblings and maybe even their parents.”

Congratulations, Leon, for your dedication in motivating and empowering young people to learn how to develop and own their economic success.

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CNBC/Survey Monkey Poll Reveals Small Business Vulnerability to Cyberattack

Protection concept. Protect mechanism, system privacy.

“Hackers have breached half of the 28 millionscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am small businesses in the United States, according to the 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report,” says a recently-released CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey article about cyber security.

Through a survey of 2,000 small business owners across the nation conducted in April, the CNBC/Survey Monkey team found that only two percent of small business owners surveyed saw cyber security as “the most critical issue they face.”

Many business owners are more concerned about personnel, competition or benefits issues, but the resulting lack of focus on cyber security, combined with an attitude of ‘we’re too small to be targeted,’ may make these businesses more vulnerable to cyberattack, the article stated.

The article also cited Hemu Nigam, founder of SSP Blue, an internet security consulting business, and the former vice president of internet enforcement at the Motion Picture Association of America, who said, “Hackers love small businesses [because] they don’t have the resources to put in high-end cybersecurity protection and they may not be consciously aware they are a target.”

The cost of not having a high-end cybersecurity protection system can be high as well. For a retailer, a credit card data breach can range from “$200 per transaction to $395 per transaction” to respond adequately to the breach, according to the report.

Cyberattacks against businesses can come in many forms (we suggest reading through our blog archives to learn more about these types of attacks and defensive steps to take). The CNBC/SurveyMonkey article’s authors recommend the following precautionary measures:

  • Use large service providers like WordPress and Gmail for your company’s website and email since they already have complex protection systems built in.
  • Refrain from checking personal accounts from a company computer.
  • Use a cloud-based service rather than keeping your information local.

For more cybersecurity tips, please check out our blog post “Nine Tips for Better Cybersecurity” and “Cybersecurity Best Practices” on our website.

More information about the CNBC/Survey Monkey Small Business Survey can be found at the CNBC web page on the tech/cybersecurity page.

(Promoting cybersecurity best practices, Grandpoint Bank recommends against clicking links provided by second-hand parties and chooses instead to provide written directions about how to find material we reference on our blog.)

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screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-amLinking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

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Your Small Business Fairy Godmother: Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation

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At Grandpoint Bank, we’re proud to have many interesting people on our team, and interesting people like to get involved with interesting organizations. David Ross’ chairmanship of Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Center (PCR) is a great example.

David is executive vice president and chief credit officer of the Bank. In that role, he’s provided services to many Southern California businesses, which was part of the appeal for him with PCR.

“It’s important that people get the assistance they need to know how to run a business and everything that goes with it,” said David. Remarkably, the lion’s share of that assistance is available for free from PCR.

Knowing PCR’s good work was “worthy of support,” David first joined the board in 2012. During his tenure, the board and staff have reflected the same diversity of the predominantly minority business owners served by the organization, including women.

“Our board is a mixture of many backgrounds, which provides important perspectives,” said David.

Business owners, whether new to the game or serial entrepreneurs, can access training and consulting sessions focused on QuickBooks, social media, web design, business plan development, record keeping, legal matters and more.

PCR can also assist with business loans. If a business doesn’t qualify outright for a loan with its bank, that bank can obtain a government guarantee on that loan from PCR. PCR can also direct business owners to banks where they have working relationships, like Grandpoint Bank, if the owner is seeking a loan, with or without the government guaranteed loan assistance. PCR only loans directly through the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program. More information about the loan assistance services provided by PCR can be found on its website.

Many small business assistance centers handle California guaranteed loan programs, but PCR is one of the few that has expanded its offerings to serve local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the multiple ways they need support the most. For 40 years, PCR has been a tremendous resource for people throughout Southern California, and even statewide.

One remarkable business assistance program that PCR pioneered is the Business Interruption Fund. As most Los Angelenos know, LA Metro has been building an extensive light rail system. During the red line construction, many businesses were adversely impacted and lost significant revenue.

Subsequently, Metro put several million dollars into its budget to fund grants and selected PCR to manage the grant process. Small businesses demonstrating disruption impact are eligible for a grant to cover lost funds.

The Business Interruption Fund has become a model for the state and nation. The program’s manager was hosted by LA Metro at the national transportation conference in Detroit, and PCR was contacted by Israel, whose leaders are looking to start a similar program. PCR also sends people out through disruption areas to let business owners know about the fund and the educational programs offered through PCR.

We salute PCR’s and David’s work to reinvest in our communities and in people who are bringing their entrepreneurial dreams to life.

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Building a Digital Defense Against Tech Support Fraud

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On July 18, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Portland released the following news, warning people against tech support fraud. In our continuing efforts to educate our clients about cyber security best practices, we wanted to share the FBI’s warning and advice, in its entirety, here on our blog site. Information about fraud and security best practices can be found on the Grandpoint website at grandpointbank.com.  

In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received almost 11,000 reports of tech support fraud incidents. In those cases, victims reported losses of more than $7.8 million.

So what is tech support fraud? Imagine you receive a call from someone who says he is with a computer software or security company. Maybe he says he is with a cable or Internet provider. The caller tells you that your software is out of date, and you are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Or, he says your equipment is malfunctioning, and he can fix it remotely — saving you a service call. All you have to do is to provide the caller with remote access to your computer or device. No idea what he’s talking about? No worries — he will be happy to walk you through all the technical details.

In another variation of the fraud, the bad guy convinces you that you overpaid for a recent service. He would be happy to refund the overage if you would just give him a few details — such as your bank account number — so he can arrange the refund.

In reality, he is either just trying to get into your account to clean it out — or, he is working for long-term access to launch other frauds. In this second example, he transfers money back and forth between your own checking, savings and retirement accounts to make it appear as though there is a refund when in fact there is none. Eventually, he tells you that he refunded too much and asks you to wire money back to the fraudulent company. Victims often don’t figure this out for quite a while as the losses pile up.

So how do you protect yourself?

  • Never give a stranger remote access to your computer or other electronics.
  • If something seems a bit odd, it probably is. Hang up and look up a phone number for that company or provider using a publicly-available resource.
  • Don’t give an unsolicited caller your bank account number or other personal information that he could use to access your accounts.
  • Don’t let someone pressure you into buying a computer security product or subscription. Oftentimes, there are reputable, free products that will do that work for you. Seek out help from someone you trust to ensure that if you do pay for something — it is worth the cost.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.govscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am or call your FBI local office.

This article can be found on the FBI’s Portland field office website.

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This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

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Vermont-Slauson Economic Development Corporation & Grandpoint Bank: Helping Small Businesses

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Members of our staff recently attended  Vermont-Slauson Economic Development Corporation’s (VSEDC) celebration of 35 years of service to South Los Angeles. VSEDC is one of the many wonderful EDCs we partner with to provide access to capital for small businesses.

In their own words, the primary mission of VSEDC is to “facilitate community development of the South Los Angeles area by providing programs structured to revitalize the physical, economic and social life of the community. In order to realize this objective, VSEDC has developed and implemented a comprehensive approach to community economic development that includes business development, technical assistance and training, residential housing, commercial and industrial development.”

Over those 35 years, the VSEDC has provided assistance to more than 500 businesses.

So, how can they help your business? One of their most popular services – and yes, it’s free – is helping craft business plans. Whether you want to map out a new business or need to present a business plan to a loan officer, the talented staff and volunteers at VSEDC can help guide you through the process.

They’re also brilliant at identifying and directing business owners toward the resources they need. We’re proud to say that one of those resources sometimes includes Grandpoint Bank. VSEDC was happy to learn about our enthusiasm for lending to small businesses, particularly ones in disadvantaged areas of the communities we serve. Through our Small Business Loan program, we can fund three- or five-year term loans or a business revolving line of credit ranging from $5,000 to $75,000.

We recognize that small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economies and often define the character of our communities. Sometimes, a relatively small loan can make the difference between those companies thriving or struggling. We love to grow with our clients and be part of the process of an entrepreneur creating something great. Today’s small business could easily become a major employer for its community, and if we can support those businesses, we love our jobs even more.

It may surprise you to learn that our Small Business Loans can be turned around within two weeks from the time we receive all the information we need from the business owner. After those two weeks (or less), if approved, our customer can leave with a cashier’s check in hand.

Not everyone who visits VSEDC needs a loan, of course. Another popular service the organization provides is assistance with business taxes. Chances are that free help with your company’s taxes will sound terrific — unless you’re running an accounting business.

Does the word Twitter send your heart aflutter? VSEDC offers (again, free!) help to strategize, develop and populate a social media program that’s right for your business. They also offer an entrepreneurial training program, training about how to have a green business, information about tax incentives and credits and so much more.

We very much value our relationship with the fine folks at VSEDC and all of the wonderful small businesses we get to serve. Whether it’s VSEDC or another Los Angeles BusinessSource Center, we encourage small business owners to take advantage of the remarkable resources available through these organizations.

To find out more about Grandpoint Bank’s Small Business Loan Program, contact Darlene Esquerra, Community Development Officer, at 213.542.2703 or desquerra@grandpointbank.com

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This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

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