East West Banker Tends to Valley Growth
James C. Cline hopes to raise East West Bank's profile in Los Angeles by targeting small and medium-sized businesses in the Valley.
As the first vice president and regional vice president of the San Marino-based bank's new San Fernando Valley Commercial Banking Center, Cline has been assigned to develop relationships with commercial customers and high-net-worth individuals through East West's credit, cash management, investment and insurance services.
The Tarzana center, which opened in August, is East West's first branch in the San Fernando Valley, Cline said. East West is the third-largest bank headquartered in Los Angeles County.
"The most challenging task is getting the word out that East West is in the Valley and has the strength that it does," said Cline. "There is a perception that it is a Chinese oriented bank. Although this will always be a part of the bank, it is a full service bank dedicated to California."
Cline will direct all commercial banking activities in the San Fernando Valley and manage the Tarzana branch, which is part of the center.
Cline said he would help local businesses expand by guiding their credit decisions and helping them avoid mistakes.
"Many small business don't have people dedicated to developing business plans," Cline said. "As their banker, I can help businesses think about where they are going to be in five years and have their business account set up in a way to meet those demands. I help them anticipate and avoid a crisis."
Cline has more than 20 years of experience in customer service management. He began his career in 1980 with United California Bank shortly before it became part of First Interstate Bank. He has worked in the government lending department of City National Bank and with the Industrial Bank of Japan and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ Bank).
He holds a law degree from the University of San Francisco and an undergraduate degree in business from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in La Canada Flintridge with his wife and three children.
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