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California Bank & Trust celebrates New Escondido branch

Ribbon cutting at the new California Bank & Trust branch on West Valley Parkway. From left: Kay Alverson – CB&T Customer Service Manager, John Schwab, Chamber of Commerce CEO James Rowten, Nancy Murphy, Marie Schwab, Hector Alvarez, 2019 Miss Escondido Cynthia Lockyer, Mayor Paul McNamara, Dora Gaona – CB&T Teller, Bernie Winans – San Diego Regional Manager, Denette Stewart – CB&T Business Center Manager (holding scissors,) Chris Cochran, Eric Ellingsen – President of CB&T, Don Burgett, Joe Coyle, Suzanne Southwell, and April Taylor. We apologize if we left anyone out!

California Bank & Trust Friday morning opened the doors of its newly built Escondido Branch at 150 N. Quince St. The grand opening, attended by city dignitaries and Chamber of Commerce officials, included a ribbon-cutting, a check presentation to a local charity, speeches from CB&T President Eric Ellingsen and Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara, and an open house.

Ellingsen quipped, “I want to acknowledge and thank our team who worked on this project from original inception until this morning at about 8 o’clock when they were still putting the final touches! A lot of sweat equity and time went into that!”  

He added, “It’s really fun to be in this community. We have been here since 1982. And we’ve been at our former location across the street that entire time. So this is kind of a big deal for us.”

Ellingsen concluded, “It’s a huge investment for our bank. The reason we are able to make this investment is the support we have been given by the local community over the many years we have been here. We pride ourselves on providing a different kind of banking. Customized and tailored approach, where we really know our customers and value our businesses in the local community and certainly our local residents.”

He talked about the building’s design. “I think it’s gorgeous. We tried to stay true to the Mission style of architecture. We’ve got your drive through lanes open. Sorry we closed those during the hottest part of the year. We hope to be here and serving the community for another forty years.”

The president recognized branch manager Denette Stewart, whom he noted was a 30 year employee. He also introduced her team members.

“It’s a very green building,” says Mayor Paul McNamara. “It’s not only green, it has great architecture that blends in with the rest of the downtown.”

Mayor Paul McNamara declared, “These are always exciting events. I see a little bit of the usual suspects out there of people who come to these things. But I think that everybody is very excited about it.”

He said, “It represents two things:  One, its’ a new beginning. But it’s also a continuation and when you have a continuation, it’s a tangible evidence that you believe in the community and you believe in its future. You have California Bank & Trust saying ‘We’ve been here and long time and we are going to stay here a long time and we believe in Escondido as a community. It’s also worth pointing out how green this building is.”

The mayor continued, “It’s a very green building. It’s not only green, it has great architecture that blends in with the rest of the downtown. It’s not business as usual. You can tell that a lot of thought went into this, and a lot of planning. As a lot of concern about the community and the future. I really think that California Bank & Trust deserves a lot of credit. We’re very proud that they chose Escondido to come to many years ago but to also stay here.”

The mayor earned applause when he gave a “shameless plug” for the Veterans Days parade to be put on by the American Legion on November 11 along Grand Avenue.

There were also presentations by J.R. Rowten, CEO of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, Aaron Andrews from Senator Brian Jones’s office, Supervisor Kristin Gaspar and Assemblymember Marie Waldon’s offices and by the Mercado Business Association.

Before the ribbon-cutting, Stewart told The Times-Advocate that the branch moved from its old office across the street because that building was being leased, whereas CB&T owns the land where the new branch sits. It was then possible to reopen the popular drive-through that operated for several years. The new office is smaller, but more suited to the staff’s size, she said. 

As part of the festivities and “In the spirit of its commitment to corporate responsibility, community relationships and local organizations,” CB&T presented a $10,000 check to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater San Diego to support its signature event – “An Evening of Changing Lives.” CEO Danny Sherlock accepted the check.

Located adjacent to the bank’s long-standing branch that has served Escondido since 1982, the new center is on a major intersection in the Mercado District. It was built to address customers’ needs by providing a full-service freestanding branch with drive-through access. 

The building was constructed to meet key environmental specifications under the California Green Building Standards Code and California Energy Codes for sustainable building materials and energy conservation. In addition to supporting the community’s green initiatives, the branch also promotes economic development for local businesses in this growing area of the city, and its early Californian architecture complements the area’s historical conservation efforts.

Employees at the newly opened branch of California Bank & Trust in Escondido: (from left) Rachel Hammond – Financial Services Representative, Dora Gaona – Teller, Debbie Mariol – Customer Service Representative; Christy Crawford – Customer Service Manager, Denette, Stewart – Business Center Manager, Shellee Burlington – Customer Service Representative, Jeanie Sleeper – Customer Service Representative, Vicki Macleod – Loan Specialist, Kay Alverson – Customer Service Manager, Mita Saha – Customer Service Representative.

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