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Board of Directors
Chris W. Caras Jr.
Chris W. Caras, Jr is a resident of Hermosa Beach, California. Mr. Caras is Senior Vice President at CBRE, specializing in commercial real estate brokerage services from the company's downtown Los Angeles office. Mr. Caras joined CBRE after spending 8 years at Grubb & Ellis Company where his investment team consistently finished among the top producers in downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Caras has been involved in commercial real estate, property management and real estate development since 1996. Mr. Caras is Property Manager for Car-Gin Property Management, Inc., where he oversees the management, design and construction of office, apartment and retail properties in Southern California. Mr. Caras was an Associate in the Los Angeles office of Studley, a commercial real estate brokerage company, and earned the 1999 National Rookie of the Year Award. In 2002, Mr. Caras joined Newmark of Southern California, Inc., as a Principal and coordinated the expansion of this New York real estate brokerage firm to Southern California. Mr. Caras founded Caras Homes, Inc. in 2000. This company is a residential development company, specializing in the development of condominiums and single-family homes in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County.
Mr. Caras is a California Licensed Salesperson and a State Licensed Contractor. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Development and City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a former member of the Los Amigos Council for Para Los Ninos. He is active in charitable organizations, such as the Down Syndrome Society, the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and Trinity Hospice.
Harry "Duke" Chenoweth
Harry "Duke" Chenoweth is a resident of Manhattan Beach, California. Mr. Chenoweth, now retired, was most recently the President and Chief Operating Officer for Barrister Executive Suites, LLC, which provides full-service executive office space for short and long-term leases. Mr. Chenoweth was associated with Barrister Executive Suites from 2001-2004, expanding operations, creating increased profitability and overseeing the 140-employee operation. Mr. Chenoweth has over 30 years of commercial banking experience, joining Union Bank of California in 1969 and remaining with the bank until 1996. At Union Bank, Mr. Chenoweth became Senior Vice President and Manager for the Los Angeles Middle Market Banking and Southern California Corporate Banking divisions in 1993. Under his leadership the Los Angeles region was recognized as Union Bank's leading region in business development and Mr. Chenoweth was honored by Union Bank as the 1995 Market Manager of the Year. Mr. Chenoweth joined Imperial Bank in 1996 as Executive Vice President and Manager of the Commercial Banking and International Banking divisions. He oversaw 17 profit centers, 105 lending officers and 210 support staff members. He retired from Imperial Bank in 2001 coincident with the sale of Imperial Bank to Comerica Bank.
Mr. Chenoweth was an officer in the US Navy for four years, where he served overseas and was involved in Vietnam War operations. Mr. Chenoweth obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Wittenberg University. He earned a Masters in Business Administration degree from Bowling Green University.
J. Grant Couch Jr. Chairman
Grant Couch joined Manhattan Bancorp and its subsidiary Bank of Manhattan as a director in 2009 and was named Chairman of the Board of the Bancorp and the Bank in November 2010. Mr. Couch has a 35-year career in the financial services industry, with a strong background in commercial, investment and mortgage banking.
Prior to his retirement in 2008, Mr. Couch was President and Chief Operating Officer of Countrywide Capital Markets (CCM), a subsidiary of the nation’s largest residential and tenth largest commercial mortgage originator that specialized in securitization and incisive research. During his 12 years with the firm CCM generated annual revenue that reached a billion dollars at its peak, with trading volumes of 15 to 20 billion per day. CCM was also a primary dealer in US Government Securities, and a market maker in most other fixed income products.
Mr. Couch began his career in 1971 with the New York-based commercial bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust. During his five years with Manufacturers, Mr. Couch completed the bank’s credit program and was appointed an officer in corporate lending.
In 1976 Mr. Couch began his fixed income career in New York investment banks, with his primary responsibilities focused on management and trading in mortgae backed securities. Mr. Couch held positions in J. Henry Schroeder Banking Corp, Dean Witter Reynolds, Bear Stearns & Company, Wheat First Securities, the Merrion Group LLC, and Sandler O'Neill.
Mr. Couch graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA with an emphasis in Finance from Lehigh University. He currently serves on the investment committee of the Aravaipa Fund; is a financial advisor to FPMT and the Tricycle Foundation; and is the Chairman of Zen Peacemakers.
Brett B. Lawrence
Mr. Lawrence joined Carpenter & Company and the Carpenter Community BancFunds in 2009 as a Vice President. He was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2013, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2014.
As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Lawrence serves a significant role in the day-to-day management of Carpenter. He chairs the Management Committee that is responsible for coordination of all internal functions, to include Portfolio Management, Risk Management, Investment Activities, Compliance, and Finance, as well as overseeing other key corporate and organizational functions. Mr. Lawrence also plays a substantial role in Carpenter’s external relationship development efforts with senior bankers, investors, and industry resources, and represents the firm at numerous banking and private equity industry functions.
Mr. Lawrence is also an integral member of the Fund’s investment team, holding analytical and due diligence responsibilities in sourcing investment opportunities and in managing the investment process. Mr. Lawrence has conducted due diligence and underwriting efforts for nine Fund investments totaling $155 million, and analyzed and executed six M&A transactions for Fund portfolio companies. In support of those efforts, he has developed analytical tools and processes to manage the review of Fund investment strategies and opportunities. He attends all Fund Investment Committee meetings, and often leads Investment Memorandum reviews and other strategic discussions.
Prior to joining Carpenter, Mr. Lawrence served nearly six years on active duty in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. His service included sea tours on the USS RUSHMORE (LSD-47) and the USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG-60), where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. Following his sea tours, he was selected to serve as the Flag Aide to the Commander Navy Region Hawaii and Commander Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Following his service with the Navy, Mr. Lawrence completed internships for Goldman Sachs, Investment Banking Division, and American Security Bank, a community bank in Newport Beach, California.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
James B. Jones
James B. Jones Executive Vice President of Carpenter & Company and a Managing Member of the General Partner for the Carpenter Community BancFund.
Mr. Jones joined Carpenter & Company in 1992. Mr. Jones, along with Mr. Gould, has direct oversight of the Fund’s portfolio management function. In that capacity, he manages the Firm’s staff of portfolio analysts and banking specialists and their work supervising and supporting the BancFund’s portfolio banks.
In his role managing the day-to-day activities of the Firm’s consulting practice, Mr. Jones functioned as the senior liaison to bankers, regulators, and other professionals in the process of creating new banks and other regulatory matters. He has overseen the opening of over 60 new banks since 1997 and has been involved in 25 capital placement assignments.
From 1992 to 1996, Mr. Jones served as Executive Vice President with oversight for Carpenter & Company’s real estate asset management operations. In that capacity, he completed the collection and restructuring of over $3 billion in non-performing loans and real estate as a third party manager for the RTC and the FDIC and as a joint venture partner with the FDIC. These contracts necessitated the management of multiple offices located in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado.
Mr. Jones joins the Bank of Manhattan Board of Directors from the merger with Professional Business Bank; where he served as the Chairman of the Board and as a member of its Executive, ALCO and IT Steering Committees. Mr. Jones is also a director of Plaza Bank, where he serves on the Asset-Liability Management & IT Committee, the Credit Policy Committee and the Human Relations/Compensation & Governance Committee.
Mr. Jones is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Business Administration. He is a licensed California Real Estate Broker and holds General Securities Principal and Representative licenses.
Louis P. Smaldino
Louis P. Smaldino joins the Bank of Manhattan Board of Directors from the merger with Professional Business Bank. He served as Director on the Boards of Professional Business Bank and Cal Gen for four years. Mr. Smaldino was the President and owner from 1971-2010 of Mr. S Liquor Marts, Inc., a chain of liquor/convenience stores located in the San Gabriel Valley and throughout Southern California. He is also the owner of Gateway Management Company, a real estate and development company in Whittier, California, since 1986. From 1965 to 1969 Mr. Smaldino, a CPA, worked for the accounting firm of Ernst & Ernst. Mr. Smaldino served as a Director from 1975 to 1982, and as President of the Temple City Chamber of Commerce during the period 1981 to 1982. Mr. Smaldino received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in accounting from Loyola University, Los Angeles, and his MBA in Finance from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Stephen P. Yost
Stephen P. Yost is a resident of Arroyo Grande, California. Mr. Yost is a Principal of Kestrel Advisors, a consulting firm focused on the banking, financial and legal communities. In 2006, Mr. Yost retired from Comerica Bank after 35 successful years in the banking industry.
For 26 years of his banking career, Mr. Yost was associated with First Interstate Bank of California. Beginning with the bank in 1970, Mr. Yost held various assignments, most of which were in credit administration and risk management. He completed his time with First Interstate as Senior Vice President and Manager of Northern California Credit Administration, responsible for credit quality and credit policy in Northern California. He reported directly to the bank's chief credit officer until the merger with Wells Fargo in 1996.
In 1996, Mr. Yost joined Mellon Bank, NA in Los Angeles as the Senior Credit Officer for the West Coast, holding responsibility over credit approvals for large corporate and middle-market banking portfolios.
In 1998, Mr. Yost joined Imperial Bank as Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer. At Imperial he was responsible for all credit quality, approval, policy and collections. He served on the bank's executive committee and asset/¬liability committee. Mr. Yost was the bank's primary contact with banking regulators. After Comerica Bank acquired Imperial in 2001, Mr. Yost remained as Executive Vice President and Regional Chief Credit Officer, with credit responsibilities over the Southern California and Arizona region and co-responsibilities for Northern California. From 2004 until his retirement in 2006, Mr. Yost was Executive Vice President and Manager of the Special Assets Group for Comerica Bank’s Western Region Mr. Yost has been active with the Risk Management Association for over 25 years, including serving as Chairman of the National Conference, Past President and director of the Northern California Chapter, member of the National Professional Development Council and Northern California Senior Advisory Group.
Mr. Yost was an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Business at Golden Gate University. He was a director and Chairman of the Investment Committee for the California Economic Development Lending Initiative. He was Finance Chair for the Boy Scouts of America, San Francisco Bay Area Council. From 1996 to 2006, Mr. Yost lived in Long Beach, California. Mr. Yost received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Santa Clara. He also received highest honors in a three year program administered by the Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management at William College, MA.
Mr. Yost is a director of Manhattan Bancorp, Bank of Manhattan, and Manhattan Capital Management. He is also a director of Mission Community Bancorp (San Luis Obispo), Mission Community Bank, and Mission Asset Management (chairman).
Michael A. Zoeller
Michael A. Zoeller has been the President and co-owner of Riedon, Inc., an Alhambra, California-based manufacturer of resistor products, since 1996. Previously, Mr. Zoeller served in multiple capacities at Imo Industries, Inc., both in Pasadena and San Dimas, California, serving from 1986 to 1995 as Vice President and General Manager of Imo Industries CEC Instruments Division, and from 1983 to 1986 as the Division Manager of Engineering. Prior to 1983, Mr. Zoeller held a number of technical and management positions at Bell and Howell, E&IG in Pasadena, and with Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdale, New Jersey. Mr. Zoeller received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Master’s degree in Engineering and a PhD from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Mr. Zoeller joins the Bank of Manhattan Board of Directors from the merger with Professional Business Bank.
Gary C. Wallace
Gary C. Wallace is a private investor and financial consultant with more than 35 years of experience in the Banking and Investment Services Industries. Mr. Wallace’s background includes 21 years as a Partner in KPMG’s Financial Services Practice. Mr. Wallace became a Partner at KPMG in 1984 and retired from KPMG in December 2005. Mr. Wallace joined KPMG following his graduation summa cum laude from California State University, East Bay in September 1975. At KPMG, Mr. Wallace served as an Associate SEC Reviewing Partner, National Instructor, Primary Recruiter and member of KPMG’s Professional Practice Review Program. Mr. Wallace’s experience at KPMG included extensive mergers and acquisition services and initial public offerings. Mr. Wallace served as engagement partner for Banks, Mortgage Banks, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Hedge Fund and Investment Companies ranging in size from startups to $50+ Billion entities. Following his retirement from KPMG, Mr. Wallace has served on the Boards of Directors of an SEC Registrant California Bank Holding Company and has consulted extensively with various Regulatory, Bank and Investment Entities. Mr. Wallace is a Licensed Certified Public Accountant (inactive) in the State of California.
Rick L. Sowers President & Chief Operating Officer
Rick L Sowers is the President & Chief Operating Officer of Bank of Manhattan. Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Sowers was a senior member of the management team with CAST Management Consultants of Los Angeles, California, a boutique consulting firm specializing in the financial services industry. His primary responsibilities were to manage relationships and engagements with some of the firm's largest bank clients. His expertise includes management of operations and process, sales management, product development and profit improvement. Prior to joining CAST, Mr. Sowers held positions with Accenture in their financial services practice, as well as management positions at Bank of America and Security Pacific Bank, where he began his career in banking.
Mr. Sowers holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, San Diego.Mr. Sowers is a longtime resident of Hermosa Beach, CA, where he lives with his wife and their two sons.
John A. Nerland President & Chief Credit officer
John Nerland is President & Chief Credit Officer of Bank of Manhattan. Mr. Nerland joins Bank of Manhattan from the merger with Professional Business Bank where he was the President and Chief Banking Officer. Prior to Professional Business Bank, he served as President and CEO for California Oaks State Bank. There, he was instrumental in enhancing the credit quality of the bank's loan portfolio. He increased the value and size of the bank and spearheaded the $17.3 million sale to California United Bank in December 2010. Prior to that, Mr. Nerland was President and CEO of Solano Bank, a De Novo bank based in Vacaville, CA and Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer of The Vintage Bank in Napa, CA. Mr. Nerland started his career with West America Bank. Nerland has a B.S. degree in Finance from Arizona State University and an M.B.A. in Marketing from San Francisco State University.
Richard Pimentel Executive Vice President Chief Financial Officer
Richard Pimentel joined Bank of Manhattan N.A. in May of 2012 and was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Manhattan Bancorp and the Bank of Manhattan N.A. in November 2013. He brings 14 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry. He holds a B.S. degree in Finance from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.