Santa Cruz's Lighthouse Bank, after record year, seeks continued growth

SANTA CRUZ >> After growing 23 percent in 2016, Lighthouse Bank leaders have a game plan to match that success this year.

They detailed their strategy for 100 people attending the annual shareholders meeting Thursday at 2020 N. Pacific Ave., headquarters of the 9-year-old bank.

Lane Lawson, CEO, talked about the new Cupertino loan office, the locally-owned bank’s first branch, which opened April 3 near where the Apple headquarters is being built.

Joe Wilson and Michael Khan, lenders staffing the Cupertino office, worked for other Silicon Valley banks and “are already booking deals,” Lawson said, describing that area as underserved by community banks.

Plans to turn the 3,000-square-foot loan office into a full-service branch have been submitted to Cupertino officials, Lawson added.

The building’s foundation needs to be reinforced to support the weight of the vault, he said.

He hopes to get the permit in June and complete the work by September.

Since 2007, when Lighthouse Bank opened, the staff has grown from a handful to 28 employees.

Recruitment is underway for an SBA lender to evaluate loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, a position Lawson said is “really critical.”

Lighthouse Bank has a tradition of comparing itself to other banks.

Assets per employee total $8.8 million, outpacing four peer banks, including Santa Cruz County Bank, which has $7.8 million in assets per employee.

For return on average equity, the higher the better.

Lighthouse Bank’s…

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