Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gene Wood Joins Inland Community Bank Board

Gene Wood has joined the Inland Community Bank Board of  Directors.  Wood says, My goal with ICB is simple: it’s to help the bank grow successfully.  ICB is making loans.  We lend to our current clients and are actively seeking new clients in need of project financing.

(Ontario, Calif.) Inland Community Bank (ICB), headquartered in Ontario, has brought aboard the local banking luminary Eugene “Gene” Wood as the newest member of the board of directors.
“Gene knows his stuff,” says bank President and Chief Executive Officer James Cooper. “While banks are contracting and closing, ICB is expanding, and Gene will contribute to that expansion as few others can.”

Born in San Bernardino and now a Beaumont resident, Wood has more than 45 years in banking. He brings a breadth and wealth of experience to ICB that few others nationwide could match.

Wood worked with former Security Pacific Bank (acquired by Bank of America in 1992) for 23 years, becoming manager of the Commercial Loan, Construction Loan and SBA Division for San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono counties.

As if that responsibility weren’t enough, in the late 1980s Wood took on the difficult, but successful, challenge of financially leading a large local supermarket chain in defeating a hostile takeover by another giant market chain. “It was a long, hard battle,” he recalls, “but one that was wonderfully rewarding.”

Wanting a change of pace, Wood then created his own consulting business, E.H. Wood & Associates in the Inland Empire. He served as sole advisor to many economic development agencies and arranged high-end municipal financing for their projects, including ones for an Inland Empire water district, and handled tax and revenue anticipation notes, which allowed municipalities to borrow funds on those expected taxes and revenues.

Additionally, Wood served as a consultant to several other large water districts, developers and municipalities, aiding them in formulating their various funding needs.

It was in 2000, while on the board of directors of Valley Bank in Moreno Valley, that Wood was asked to take over that 40-year-old financially troubled institution as president.

Within just two years Wood had transformed the bank into a well-capitalized business with no problem loans.  The success caught the attention of the 11th largest bank in the world, Spain’s BBVA of Madrid, who soon bought the bank. Wood stayed on for a year as chief operating officer, leading the bank’s expansion from seven branches to 45 additional branch offices throughout California.

As Wood says, “I could have stayed on, but it was just time to do something different. A few years later, in 2005, I left to establish Inland Valley Bank, a division of South County Bank in Orange County, acting as the President.” It was while there that he led the creation of a Redlands division, Inland Valley Bank, to serve small to medium sized businesses and among many other functions, finance loans for equipment, commercial real estate and construction.

A real highlight in Wood’s vast career happened in October of 1988. “I was running the National Orange Show and spent two weeks with President Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service advance detail and with the White House planning logistics and security for a speech by the president for 15,000 people at the Orange Show.

President Reagan was at the Orange Show for four hours and we all had lunch together, then the Secret Service came to me to ask if I’d like to spend 15 minutes privately with the President.

It was an amazing experience, just being together with him in conversation.” Years later, Wood met President Bill Clinton.

Over the years Wood has served in many community capacities. “When I was chairman of the World Affairs Council, I brought in prominent international speakers.  I was able to line up such heavy hitters as the editorial staff and the chief editor of ‘Newsweek,’ American astronauts, and a China attaché.

Wood served as President of the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce and then President of the San Bernardino County Children’s Resources. 

California Governor George Deukmejian appointed Wood as a member of the Mojave County Formation Commission.

“Northern San Bernardino County cities, such as Victorville and Barstow, wanted to split off and form a county of their own. The people of San Bernardino County didn’t vote for the proposal, though, so the creation of Mojave County never happened. But, this was a very fascinating effort to be involved in.”

Also, through consecutive reelections, Wood ultimately spent 18 years as a member of the San Bernardino Community College District, and today still serves as vice chairman of the Crafton Hills College Foundation and vice chairman of San Bernardino Valley College campus’ KVCR TV and Radio Foundation.

Academically, after starting out as a pharmacy major, then architecture, Wood earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of California San Diego.  He earned subsequent Master’s in business from Southern Methodist University.  Later he joined the faculty of the University of California Riverside teaching, naturally, Finance.

“My life has been a wonderful experience,” said Wood. “In my career I’ve had the opportunity to do things I’d never have dreamed I could be able to do when I was a young man, and I’ve met people I never thought I could have met.”

It was through a friend with ICB that he was urged to come out of his “retirement” to join the company in some capacity. Bank President and Chief Executive Officer James Cooper asked Wood to accept a coveted board of directors’ position as well as serve as Chairman of ICB’s Loan Committee.

The Loan Committee has four board members and two staffers. “My job is to use my 45 years of lending experience and knowledge to evaluate ICB’s largest loan applications,” said Wood.

It has been said that in today’s economy, banking is a daunting challenge, but at ICB things are a bit different.

Cooper says, “While most banks today are spending their time solving problems, at ICB we don’t have those same issues. We put our time into helping clients grow their businesses. I always tell them, ‘If we can’t add to your bottom line, you don’t need us.’

“ICB is making loans.  We lend to our current clients and are actively seeking new clients in need of project financing,” said Cooper.

Cooper said that while most popular consumer-oriented banks may average deposits of $4,000 to $6,000, ICB’s average deposits range from $35,000 to $50,000.

Wood says, “My goal with ICB is simple: it’s to help the bank grow successfully.  I want to see ICB expand to where we’re adding more select clients and more strategically located branches.” It’s something Wood has done before.

At ICB each new client is assigned a team of personal bankers to learn and understand the client’s specific needs.  “We go the extra mile to ensure that ICB provides clients with the resources they need to meet their objectives.  Also clients always are sure to be able to speak with or meet with a personal banker that knows and understands their financial needs,” said Cooper.

Businesses or professionals with gross annual revenue of $250,000 to $35 million are prime candidates to receive a team of personal bankers providing personal banking services. 

“ICB is not the bank for everyone, but our clients quickly find that our relationship encourages their profitability, and for them we become the only bank,” said Cooper.

Deposits at ICB are fully insured by the FDIC.  “We also assure each customer that any deposit made with ICB, regardless of size, is safe and sound,” said Cooper.

To schedule an appointment or for more information about ICB contact James Walling, Vice President or Christopher D. Maggio, Senior Vice President at (909) 796-7100.

About ICB
Since 1990 ICB has served select professionals and businesses with teams of personal bankers delivering a full range of banking and financial services. ICB delivers one-on-one service to its clients through banking offices in Los Angeles, Duarte, Ontario, Loma Linda and Rialto. 

ICB is a publicly traded company listed on the OTC Bulletin Board: ICBN. The website is ICB is headquartered in Ontario, California.

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