Dreams To Reality; The Founding of Pacific Valley Bank
The Pacific Valley Bank story began in 2002 when a small group of Salinas area business and community leaders had a dream of founding a new community-based bank.
Peter Shah, a partner in the CPA firm Stevens, Sloan and Shah, first spoke of a new bank. “ The vision was to serve the agricultural community and the needs of the common man and to make their dreams a reality,” said Mr. Shah.
Mr. Shah talked first with Grace Cosentino and Guillermo Nieto, Sr. about becoming part of a group of local individuals who would give back to their community by investing in a local, community bank. They agreed, and the Nieto, Cosentino, and Shah families were soon joined by Mr. Shah’s partners, Wilbur H. Stevens and Jim Sloan to spearhead the drive for a new bank in the Salinas area.
Moving quickly, the group organized a meeting of 22 business and community leaders at the Stevens, Sloan and Shah offices in late September. Foremost in the discussions was the idea that individuals and families who had prospered in their professions in this area had an opportunity to truly give something meaningful back to the community – a bank that would serve the unique financial service needs of the area. From that meeting, an agreement was struck to begin the formal process of starting a new bank.
In November 2002, a group of seventeen core organizers was established. They included Andrew Ausonio, Steven Bassi, Robert Bikle, Rodney Braga, John Bryce, Michael Cling, Grace Cosentino, Louis Cosentino, Anthony Cosentino, Louis Huntington, Tina Lopez, Jon Moore, Guillermo Nieto, Jr., David Robinson, Michael Shah, Peter Shah, and Wilbur H. Stevens.
The organizers faced a number of challenges in turning the concept of a new bank into a functioning, flourishing organization. Pacific Valley Bank’s theme, Dreams to Reality, really got its start with the organizers who had a dream and were willing to risk capital and spend time to make it real. In early 2003, the group hired a consultant to provide a market study of the Salinas area to confirm what they had supposed, that there was a need for a new bank.
The organizers set an ambitious goal of opening the bank in late 2004. The formal application was submitted in December 2003. Organizers were divided into committees to oversee the wide variety of tasks that lay ahead. The name Pacific Valley bank was officially selected. Work on the headquarters at 3 Rossi Circle began.
A vital element in the formation of Pacific Valley Bank was the support of local investment. Shortly after the bank’s application was filed, organizers began contacting potential investors in Salinas, South County and the Monterey Peninsula to ask if they would sign non-binding indication of interest forms. While those who signed the forms were not obligated to purchase stock once the bank application was approved, their signatures indicated a strong local base of support for a new bank.
When the bank’s application was approved by the FDIC and state regulators in the spring, organizers could begin to solicit shares in earnest. While investors were not limited to those who had indicated interest, that list provided the springboard for an all out effort. Most of the shares were sold as a result of direct contact by organizers and other shareholders.
Now fully-staffed and open to serve the financial needs of businesses and individuals in the greater Salinas area, Pacific Valley Bank is an example of turning a dream into a reality.
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