Ontario pushing forward with projects

     Ontario’s economic magnet — L.A./Ontario International Airport –
might be shedding about 30 percent of its flights, but the seeds of economic growth in this city are still visible.
     Building projects are coming online and new businesses are opening
their doors, according to a city newsletter.
     * Kaiser Permanente is constructing Ontario’s first hospital. It’s
expected to be completed by 2011 and will put more than 100 physicians and medical providers to work, along with a staff of 1,200.
     * National home improvement giant Home Depot signed a 35-year lease
for a new store in the northwest corner of Euclid Avenue and Riverside Drive. The store is being built right now.
     * Bianchi International is relocating its gun-holster manufacturing
operations to Ontario. It’s slated to share a plant with Safariland, a holster maker owned by BAE Systems.
     * A 175-room Embassy Suites hotel was recently approved by the city
council. It will be constructed where Haven Avenue meets the 10 Freeway.
     * While certain parts of the commercial real-estate market go through
a downturn, Ontario leads the region in industrial leasing activity, with a 2.85 percent vacancy
rate reported for the first quarter, according to CB Richard Ellis.
     * GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric Co., has
partnered with other companies to provide a 2.3-megawatt rooftop solar cell system for Toyota Motor Sales’ North American Pole plant located in the city.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

1st Centennial Bancorp reports $2.7 million 2Q loss

Press Release Source: 1st Centennial Bancorp

1st Centennial Bancorp Announces Second Quarter Financial Results and Plans to Evaluate Capital Alternatives
Thursday August 7, 5:11 pm ET

REDLANDS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–1st Centennial Bancorp (OTCBB: FCENNews), parent holding company of 1st Centennial Bank (the Bank), today announced second quarter operating results. The Company reported a net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2008 of ($2.778) million or ($0.57) diluted loss per share, compared to a net loss of ($1.455) million or ($0.29) diluted loss per share for the first quarter of 2008.
 

Both the Company and Bank remain well capitalized as defined by applicable regulatory definitions. As of June 30, 2008, the Banks Tier 1 capital to average assets ratio (Leverage Capital Ratio) was 7.38%, the Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 9.35%, and the total risk-based capital ratio was 10.61%. On a consolidated basis, as of June 30, 2008, the Companys Tier 1 capital to average assets ratio was 7.60%, the Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 9.61%, and the total risk-based capital ratio was 10.87%. Under the regulatory definitions, in order to be considered well capitalized, a financial institution must have a Leverage Capital Ratio of at least 5%, Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 6% and a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 10%. To be adequately capitalized, those same ratios must be at least 4%, 4% and 8%, respectively.

Patrick J. Meyer, Chairman of the Board, commented, The financial services industry continues to experience a very challenging economic environment, especially in the Inland Empire and other parts of Southern California. These are clearly unprecedented times for our nation, our region and our company, as reflected in the results of operations that so many other financial institutions are reporting. As the financial services industry works through the excess housing inventory in the Inland Empire and surrounding areas, we are strategically positioning ourselves to take advantage of the economic recovery that will occur once the housing industry returns to normal. Here are some specific steps we have taken so far:

  • We are completing our review of our entire loan portfolio, with specific emphasis on our construction loan portfolio;
  • We have significantly curtailed our construction lending and will be concentrating on our commercial lending product line;
  • We are diligently working on plans to resolve and/or restructure our nonperforming assets in an effective and efficient manner in order to maximize shareholder value and not ‘give away’ these assets to others at low current market prices.

Meyer continued, While both the Company and the Bank continue to remain well capitalized under applicable regulatory definitions, we believe that further strengthening of our capital position is important to properly position the Company for future growth. This additional capital will help support the balance sheet during this difficult credit environment and provide operational flexibility to allow our footprint in high-growth and populous markets and favorable core deposit franchise to continue to create value for shareholders.

Accordingly, our Board of Directors is evaluating capital alternatives in order to further strengthen our capital position, and we have engaged the investment banking firm D.A. Davidson & Company as our financial advisor with respect to evaluating capital and other strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value. We have always valued our customer and shareholder relationships and will continue to do so in the future in order to remain a ‘Nice Place to Raise Your Business.’

Despite losses, Emrise pushing ahead with acquisition plans

     Aerospace industry manufacturer Emrise Corp., based in Rancho Cucamonga, reported a loss of $300,000 for the second quarter and also said on Thursday that a New Jersey company it plans to buy received environmental clearance for the pending acquisition.
     “While we continue to incur net losses, we have decreased the amount of these losses as compared to the prior year periods,” a company statement said.
     The company lost $1.2 million over the first half of this year compared to $1.4 million during the same period last year.
     Emrise shares closed at on Thursday.
     The manufacturer has to acquire Advanced Control Components — which it says will happen around Aug. 15 — for a reverse stock split to happen.
     If the split is approved by shareholders later this year, it will increase share value so the company can stay listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
     Shares peaked at more than $11 in 1992, and the company’s penny-stock status means it’s facing a delisting on the exchange.
     Emrise’s first-quarter loss of $900,000 was mostly due to production and customer-related delays. Before that, the company saw a total of $5.5 million in losses between 2006 and 2007 because of slower sales, among other reasons.
     Advanced Control Components is a New Jersey-based electronics device producer.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

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Vineyard National Bancorp reports $62 million loss

     Vineyard National Bancorp reported a loss of $62.5 million on Wednesday for the second quarter — more than four times the company’s losses in the first quarter of this year.
     Vineyard — the financial parent of Vineyard Bank — is shoring up capital to stay afloat amid its mounting losses stemming from the Inland Empire’s imploding real-estate market.
     The Corona-based company borrowed $126 million from the Federal Home Loan Bank on July 24, according to Wednesday’s statement.
     Vineyard also recently entered into an agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to borrow money through the reserve’s discount window, a federal finance program that several banks are taking advantage of these days as liquidity becomes a major concern.
     Now Vineyard has about $300 million in liquid assets to work with as it continues “pursuing strategic alternatives for raising capital,” the statement says.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

     Look below to read Vineyard National Bancorp’s news release:

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Ontario company a step closer to possible AMEX listing

     Soyo Group Inc. (OTCBB: SOYO.OB) is one step closer to possibly getting a spot on the American Stock Exchange.
     But the Ontario-based consumer electronics distributor’s stock must rise to $2 a share before the exchange will list the company. Shares closed at 77 cents on Tuesday.
     Shareholders gave approval at Soyo’s annual meeting on Monday for the company to issue 125 million extra shares of common stock. It would more than double the company’s outstanding shares.
     Soyo is trying to attract investors willing to put their money on the line.
     In the meantime, it’s looking to acquire electronics companies that are struggling financially.
     “We’ve spoken to a few companies already this year,” said Ed O’brien, director of marketing. “There are other companies that have approached us as an acquisition partner… companies that are in trouble.”
     If the stock can get listed on AMEX, Soyo might be a lucrative prospect for institutional investors with deeper pockets.
     Shareholders also re-elected its current board of directors for another term, while increasing employee stock options.
     The 43-employee company is trying to shrug off almost $5 million in losses for 2003 and 2004 and build upon its $6.5 million in earnings from 2005 to 2007.
     Similar companies comparable to Soyo’s size have gone bankrupt over the last couple of years. Last year, Soyo signed a deal with Honeywell International Inc. to supply the electrical industry giant with LCD and plasma flat-panel televisions.
     The company’s stock reached a record peak of $1.48 in October.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

Regulator says former Vineyard CEO may not serve on board of directors

     Nope.
     That’s what the Federal Reserve Board said about Norman Morales’s bid to help lead financially-troubled Vineyard National Bancorp, the parent company of Vineyard Bank. 
     The federal regulator doesn’t approve of Morales sitting on the Corona company’s board of candidates, which he’s been trying to accomplish through a proxy battle in recent months.
     The former CEO was nominating himself, investor Jon Salmanson and five other candidates to Vineyard’s board of directors, but on Monday he announced the federal regulator’s decision.
     Morales led the bank during a period that Vineyard attributes its skyrocketing loan losses to.
     Still, Morales and like-minded investors own a substantial amount of stock, which boosts their voting power at Tuesday’s much-anticipated annual shareholder meeting.
     Besides its millions of dollars in loan losses, Vineyard — with its own board nominees — has been fighting Morales and Salmanson in the proxy battle.
     The company will tally votes on Tuesday and announce who was voted on the board of directors to lead the bank.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

     Look below to read Norman Morales and John Salmanson’s news release:

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Vineyard Bank’s leadership in the hands of Tuesday’s meeting

     The fate of leadership at Vineyard National Bancorp — the parent company of Vineyard Bank — lies in the hands of Tuesday’s annual meeting, where shareholder votes will determine who takes charge in the coming months.
     Some stakeholders speculate the tug of war between former CEO Norman Morales and Vineyard will be a pushover in Morales’s favor.
     Besides, he and a like-minded group of investors, including John Salmanson and Douglas Kratz, have purchased a substantial amount of Vineyard stock.
     The bank said Morales “resigned” in January. He was cut a check for more than $1 million, among several other perks. He led the bank during a period that Vineyard attributes its skyrocketing loan losses to.
     But because of Vineyard’s “troubled condition” status designated by federal banking regulators, either side’s board candidate nominees are subject to regulatory approval.
     Vineyard Bank announced last week that it is voluntarily agreeing to a federal regulator’s consent order, which says the bank must manage its financial woes by following a three-year capital plan and numerous other rules.
     Also, the OCC charged Vineyard with the daunting task of keeping its head above regulatory waters.
     Vineyard must not only diversify its investments, but also get the OCC’s permission if it wants to grow its loan portfolio by more than 5 percent from the prior year, among a litany of other regulations.
     The documents also said Vineyard told its creditor — First Tennessee Bank National Association — on Thursday that it might need another extension on a $48 million loan. The overdue loan was already extended to Aug. 29, and Vineyard is backing nonpayment with its entire shareholder stock.
     Besides himself, Morales is asking for approval of Kratz, Thomas Koss II, Cynthia Harriss, Harice “Dev” Ogle, Lester Strong and Glen Terry.
     Through investor group One Investments LLC, Kratz bought almost 10 percent of Vineyard’s stock in late June for about $6.3 million. Morales and Salmanson joined Kratz in the stock purchase.
     Vineyard is asking shareholders to approve interim CEO James LeSieur, Frank Alvarez, David Buxbaum, Charles Keagle, Robb Quincey, Joel Ravitz and J. Steven Roush as board members.
     Vineyard’s shareholder meeting will be held at 2 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario on 222 N. Vineyard Ave.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

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Weak I.E. manufacturing growth becomes trend

     The judgement is in: weakness in the local manufacturing sector is more than just a blip on the radar.
     It’s become a trend.
     That’s what researchers at Cal State San Bernardino said today in a report released by the Institute of Applied Research and Policy Analysis.
     July’s purchasing manufacturer’s index — a barometer of how well local manufacturers are fairing — came in at 41.2. It’s the second-lowest index reading since the report’s inception in 1993.
     The index is based off a survey of commodity prices, production numbers, new orders, inventory numbers, employment numbers and supplier deliveries at companies.
     In July, production and new orders — two key economic indicators — dropped sharply.
Inventory, employment and supplier deliveries “continue to manifest weakness,” the report says.
     “If the PMI continues to remain this low for the next two months, this will indicate that the local economy is in recessionary mode,” the report states.
     Also, 44 percent of purchasing managers surveyed said they think the Inland Empire’s economy will continue weakening, while another 46 percent said things will remain sluggish.
The news comes on the heels of June’s report, which said oil and raw material prices were eating away profit from local companies’ bottom lines at a record rate.
     Shipping budgets keep growing as businesses cope with the cost of crude oil.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

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