In the past two years, deposits at Irvine-based First Foundation Bank have grown from $90 million to $282 million, loans from $90 million to $315 million, and investments managed from nearly $1 billion to nearly $1.6 billion.
Chief Executive Officer Scott Kavanaugh says the bank’s largest advantage is being part of an integrated financial platform that provides clients with a wide range of services – including investment management, trust services and wealth planning – that aren’t usually found at local banks.
“Our business plan is a little bit different,” Kavanaugh says. “I’ve never seen what we do in a community bank.”
To carry out the company’s mission, Kavanaugh says he’s been able to attract “extremely talented people” as a “direct consequence of a lot of people getting frustrated with the bigger names (in the financial services industry). We’ve demonstrated that we can deliver, in a boutique setting, the same services. We have a very deep bench of talent.”
And that talent (the company’s number of employees has grown from 26 in 2007 to 91 today) has attracted clients. In 2010, First Foundation was also ranked No. 14 nationwide by Wealth Manager magazine, for total assets under management, and No. 24 in the Top 50 Financial Planning Firms by Investment News.
A First Foundation office in Pasadena opened in July, and in December a third office opened in La Quinta. The company has plans for a fourth location in the state.
“The growth we’ve had the past couple of years is very encouraging,” Kavanaugh says, “and the recent hires give us the capability to be more scalable as we get larger.”