California bank turns tables

While major New York banks have been quietly beefing up representative offices and other operations in the Los angeles area --and looking forward to the green light for interstate banking -- a small California bank has set up shop in the shadow of the giants in New York City.

The Bank of Beverly Hills, a little over four years old and with March 31 assets of $64.6 million, opened a representative office last month at 375 Park Avenue, New York.

"We are the first independent California bank to have offices on both coasts, " said Kenneth A. Cohen, who divides his time between his Century City law firm and being chairman of the bank. "Going bicoastal is a natural for our bank, since we have many customers who do business on the East and West Coasts."

The Bank of Beverly Hills, with two offices in the posh city near Los Angeles , specializes in wholesale banking for professionals and small and medium-size companies. A bank official noted that "a great percentage of our customer base is in the entertainment industry," for which offices are maintained on both coasts.

The New York office of the bank is expected to generate increased loan activity with Eastern lenders, Mr. Cohen added. "Frankly," he continued, "we are also looking ahead to the possibilities of interstate banking. Many independent banks are against interstate banking prohibitions being relaxed. But we see this as potential opportunity."

Managing the New York office is senior vice-president Nicholas C. De Marco. He is a former a vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, where he was national marketing and business development manager.

At year-end 1980, $26.7 million, or almost half of the Bank of Beverly Hill's total deposits of $56.7 million, was in time certificates of deposit of $100,000 or more. A bank officer estimated that about 15 percent of certificate-of-deposit customers are from New York.

Meanwhile, a major New York bank will be expanding in Los Angeles. Citibank and its parent, Citicorp, which already have several operations in Los Angeles, signed a long-term lease for 104,000 square feet in the 48-story Wells Fargo Bank Building now rising in downtown in Los Angeles.

The skyscraper, expected to be completed next fall, will be the home of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank's Southern California headquarters. Occupying Floors 18 through 22 will be several Citicorp corporate lending, finance, and investment services units, including the Los Angeles Edge Act branch of Citibank International.

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