Troubled bank’s founder to retire

The founder of Lynnwood’s City Bank will hand over control of the day-to-day operations at the end of 2009, a year which has proved troublesome for the bank.

Conrad Hanson, 67, who serves as City Bank’s chairman, president and CEO, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of this year. City Bank’s board named Martin L. Heimbigner, 51, as Hanson’s successor.

Like many community banks in Snohomish County, City Bank has felt the sting of the downturn in residential housing. The bank recorded a $60.8 million loss in 2008 and has lost $66.34 million through the third quarter of 2009. Federal and state authorities issued City Bank a cease and desist order in July, signalling the bank would be under close scrutiny by regulators.

City Bank’s board of directors also elected James Carroll, 58, to serve as chief credit officer. Carroll already acts as City Bank’s executive vice president and is a board member.

Hanson, who has spent nearly 46 years in banking, founded City Bank in 1974. He will continue to serve as chairman of City Bank’s board until the bank’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May. Hanson expressed confidence in Heimbigner in a statement released late Tuesday.

“Marty has worked closely with me on a full-time basis over the past year as we have dealt with the bank’s challenges,” Hanson said.

City Bank has been selling roughly $20 million to $30 million of residential housing monthly. Through Dec. 18, the bank has sold 1,145 homes and lots worth over $334 million. Heimbigner will be responsible for implementing the plan for the bank with federal and state regulators.

“As the bank’s largest shareholder, I am fully supportive of (Heimbigner’s and Carroll’s) ability to profitably lead the bank in the future,” Hanson said. “As a part of that we are working on a capital raise and I have committed to invest an additional $3 million into that effort.”

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