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First Foundation Bank announces merger with Desert Commercial Bank

The acquired firm had $153 million in assets as of March 31.

by Kristen CervantesPublished: July 18, 2011

Irvine-based First Foundation Bank recently announced that it has acquired Desert Commercial Bank for $16 million in cash and stock.

First Foundation has branches in Irvine, La Quinta, Pasadena and San Diego, among other communities. The merger with Desert Commercial Bank will give First Foundation additional locations, in Coachella and Imperial valleys. Once the merger takes effect, the combined company will have five full-service offices in Southern California.

“This strategic transaction provides FFB with an excellent opportunity to continue to expand its market presence within the greater California market,” said Scott Kavanaugh, chairman and CEO of First Foundation. “We are particularly excited to strengthen our investment in the Coachella and Imperial valleys and look forward to continuing [Desert Commercial Bank’s] commitment to the communities it serves.”

As of March 31, Desert Commercial Bank had $153 million in assets. With the merger, shareholders will receive stock from both banks. Desert Commercial Bank shareholders in particular could receive up to a total of $4.05 million, depending on specific qualifications.

The merger is expected to close by the end of this year.

“We are excited about this combination,” said Tony Swartz, president and CEO of Desert Commercial Bank. “First Foundation has a tremendous trust-and-wealth-management platform that will allow us to offer a greater array of financial services to our client base.”

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