ARLINGTON, Va. – Hans Ganz, CEO of First PacTrust Bancorp Inc, a $531 million institution that used to be Pacific Trust Credit Union, told an audience at a financial services conference sponsored by the investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette and Woods that he strongly backed his institution’s decision in January 2000 to move to a mutual bank charter. Pacific Trust then went on in August 2002 to issue stock. According to an account of the talk on the Credit Union Executives Society’s Web site, Ganz was “widely enthusiastic” about the switch Pacific Trust had made. He touted a number of strategies Pacific Trust had been able to put into place post conversion, including opening new branches, system conversions and moving loan services in house. He reported that the institution’s real estate loans grew from $125 million at the end of 2002 to $258 million at the end of 2002 while loan originations in the same period grew from $145 million to $265 million. When asked why, in his opinion, credit unions make this switch Ganz replied “access to capital is the big reason.”

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