Banking

Former Opus chief is one step closer to opening California de novo

Stephen Gordon is one step closer to returning to banking.

A Gordon-led group has received approval from California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to form Genesis Bank in Newport Beach. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has given the organizers conditional approval for deposit insurance.

Conditional approval usually requires organizers to raise a minimum amount of capital before opening. While the FDIC’s order wasn’t immediately available, Gordon’s group had targeted $53 million in initial capital.

Gordon submitted an initial application with the FDIC in June.

Former Opus CEO Stephen Gordon is looking to open Genesis Bank.

Genesis Bank would bring together many former executives of Opus Bank, which Gordon recapitalized in late 2010.

Jennifer Simmons, who was Opus’ chief operating officer, and Brian Fitzmaurice, who served as chief credit officer, will have the same roles at Genesis. William Han, a former deputy chief financial officer at Opus, will be CFO, while Andres Gallardo, Opus’ deputy general counsel, wll serve as chief legal and risk officer at the proposed bank.

“We have the benefit of having worked extensively together as a team in the past,” Gordon said in a Wednesday press release. “I am confident that our diverse backgrounds, collective experiences, and broad skills will be a competitive advantage as we embrace this unique opportunity to build a new bank.”

Efforts to reach Gordon to discuss progress raising capital and a proposed opening date were unsuccessful.

Genesis intends to focus on small business and commercial real estate lending in the same Southern California footprint where Opus operated.

Opus, which grew quickly after Gordon’s arrival, ran into credit quality issues in 2016 that hampered profitability prior to his abrupt departure in November 2018. The bank was sold to the $19.7 billion-asset Pacific Premier Bancorp in Irvine, Calif., last year.

Genesis would be Gordon’s second California de novo. He founded Commercial Capital Bancorp in Irvine in 1998 before selling it eight years later to Washington Mutual for just under $1 billion.


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