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Local Banks Vault to Top on Forbes List

Forbes came out with its 2016 list of America’s Best Banks on Thursday, and local banks fared well.

CVB Financial Corp., the holding company for Ontario’s Citizen Business Bank, was No. 1. And No. 2 was Century City-based PacWest Bancorp, parent of Pacific Western Bank (the fourth largest bank by assets based in L.A. County on the Business Journal’s biggest banks list).

Cathay General Bancorp of Los Angeles came in at No. 12 and Pasadena’s East West Bancorp was No. 13.

Forbes based its rankings on metrics such as asset quality, capital adequacy, growth and profitability using data from SNL Financial.

Citizens, which has 18 branches in Los Angeles County and $7.6 billion in assets, has ranked in the top 10 in the past but topped the list for the first time.

“It came as a complete surprise,” said CVB Chief Executive Christopher D. Myers. “Everybody was really excited in the organization.”

The publisher praised Citizens for achieving more than 150 straight quarters of profitability and issuing more than 100 consecutive cash dividends.

“I think the organization has really been very consistent,” Myers said, pointing out that included three different recessions over the past four decades. “We’ve been able to do that because we stuck to knowing who we are and making sure we didn’t get teased into things that we’re not… we haven’t been overly greedy in booming economic times.”

Myers credited the bank’s success to forming relationships with strong small- and medium-sized businesses, typically family owned and privately held. The other key, he added, was attracting and retaining top talent who typically stay at Citizens for a long time.

As for PacWest, Forbes highlighted that bank’s nearly 30 acquisitions since 2000, which have boosted its assets to more than $21 billion.

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