Landmark National Bank, Michael McCafferty business card

Voted "Best Bank / Financial Institution"
by Rancho Santa Fe Review readers in 2006

Landmark National Bank

Starting sometime in the year 2000, a group of very talented and experienced business people in the San Diego area invited me to join them in forming a new Federal bank in the community of Solana Beach, California. On April 22, 2002 my letter went out to friends and family that we finally had the approval to move forward and accept investors. Together we raised almost 12 million dollars as initial capital from about 450 investors. The stock, which originally sold at $10/share, was publicly traded under the symbol LMRK.

After a long process that included FBI background checks on all of the key people involved, the US Treasury Department (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Administrator of National Banks, Licensing Operations, Western District Office) issued a letter on August 23, 2002 giving Conditional Approval #547 allowing Landmark National Bank to open its doors for business on August 26, 2002.

I was "not disapproved" by the Feds to serve on the Board of Directors on August 4, 2003. Since then I have served as Chairman of the Marketing Committee, member of the Strategic Planning committee, advisor to the Technology committee, member of the Compensation committee and member of the ALCO committee.

Read the letter from the feds., and to see how your government words their "decision not to exercise their disapproval", notice the first sentence of the next to last paragraph!

On October 25, 2006, after 6 years in the banking adventure, I resigned from the Board of Directors and sold my shares at a moderate loss, after failing to convince management that their strategic direction was flawed. In one of my last board meetings I asked management what their contingency plans were if the then-current rumblings about housing prices and rampant speculation were to lead to a crisis. Their reply was that no such thing was possible and that a contingency plan was unnecessary.

Four months later, on February 22, 2007, no longer able to operate independently, Landmark agreed to be acquired by 1st Pacific bank. And soon thereafter, 1st Pacific was folded into City National Bank, all at the direction of the Feds. Depositors were insured but stockholders lost everything. I was fortunate to have left when I did. My learning experience was that the banking business was not for me!

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