Towbes stepping down as Montecito Bank & Trust chairman

Apr 04, 2017


Towbes stepping down as Montecito Bank & Trust chairman

Montecito Bank & Trust founder and owner Michael Towbes will step down from his role as board chairman, the bank announced April 3.

The bank said it would propose naming bank President Janet Garufis as CEO and board chair, and bank executive George Leis as president at its April board meeting.

The bank said that naming Garufis as board chair would be the first step toward a plan that would provide for ownership to pass to a trust with Garufis as lead trustee.

Towbes said he was stepping back from an active role at the bank in order to spend more time with his family and to allow for the implementation of the succession plan.

"I've had an amazing life," said the real estate and financial services entrepreneur, who founded Montecito Bank & Trust in March 1975.

Towbes' decision to step down as chairman comes amid a series of changes in the regional bank ranks. Also on April 3, Irvine-based Pacific Premier closed its purchase of the parent of Heritage Oaks Bank, a transaction that left Montecito Bank & Trust as the largest independently owned bank in the region.

Montecito Bank & Trust said that in transferring ownership to a trust, Towbes intended for the bank to remain "independently owned now and in the future."

Born in 1929, Towbes has been a resident of the South Coast for 54 years. He began his business as a homebuilder and diversified into commercial real estate and apartments before entering the banking industry in 1975. Read more



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