1st Centennial terminates two top-tier executives

     1st Centennial Bancorp announced Monday that it gave the boot to two top executives last week.

     On the heels of the Redlands-based financial company’s second loss in 16 years, its board of director’s fired Tom Vessey, president and CEO, and John Lang, chief credit officer, on Friday.

     Chief Financial Officer Beth Sanders wouldn’t comment. She deferred to a company statement that says Suzanne Dondanville, chief operating officer, is now the interim president and CEO.

     1st Centennial’s second-quarter financial filings say the company has enlisted D.A. Davidson & Company — a Great Falls, Mont. financial advisor — to evaluate “capital and other strategic alternatives.”

     Its losses stem from home builders who can’t repay what they borrowed from the bank.

     The company lost $4.2 million over the first six months of this year compared to earnings of $4.1 million over the same period last year.

     Total deposits at 1st Centennial’s six bank branches jumped 13 percent from December to June. Stock shares closed Tuesday at $2.15, down from a peak of $30 in March 2007.

     The $760 million asset bank has branches in Redlands, Palm Desert, Temecula, Escondido, Brea and Irwindale.

–matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

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