name to refl ect unlimited horizons. Blue Gate happens to be the street where the bank’s founders live, and it’s worked well for us as a name. Th e imagery it presents helps to distinguish us and set us apart. Q: Why did the organizers opt for a de novo charter versus buying an existing bank, which arguably may have been less costly? A: Th ere were a couple of reasons for that. First, we wanted to start fresh with no loan or regulatory problems. Usually, when a bank is for sale, it’s not necessarily that something is wrong, but that its investors want out. “No baggage” comes to mind as a good term. Th e second reason was that our founders and investors have a lot of community banking experience in Northern California, and they saw an opportunity to bring that to Southern California. Th ey have a passion for the industry and a proven philosophy for how to thrive in it. Q: California lost 40 or so banks during the recession through failures and there has been ongoing consolidation before and since. Were these motivating factors in starting a new bank? A: Yes, they were, especially in the Orange County, California, marketplace, which has experienced a lot of consolidation of community banks. We felt this was a great opportunity to start a community bank for small to mid-size businesses and high-net-worth clientele seeking the kind of personalized service they could no longer fi nd. In addition, community banks off er more fl exibility than the “credit scored” lending practices of big banks, which creates further opportunity for us. Q: How did you convince investors to join the venture? Were most investors local? A: Most investors are from Northern California, and the Gallaher family who founded the bank represents the majority of our investment, although we have nearly 20 investors to date. What made our situation unique was that our investors have not only decades of banking experience, but a passion for this type of work. Th ey know what a community bank truly entails, and the positive impact it can have on its clientele and the community as a whole. Q: How long did the organizing/application process take? A: We submitted our applications to the FDIC and the California Department of Business Oversight in February 2015, and received approval from the state in July 2016 and the FDIC in October of that same year. Q: Did the encouragement expressed by the FDIC for de novos in the past couple of years help? A: Considering that we’re the fi rst bank in California since 2009 to get approved and to open, I think that should answer the question. We’re the third in the state to get approval in that time. Th e FDIC on the West Coast and the California Department of Business Oversight have been wonderful to work with, despite the fact that the process required us to fi le thousands of pages of documentation. Offi cials on the West Coast were very supportive throughout the process. Q: Why was Blue Gate’s charter approved when other de novos — two in Southern California — have languished with regulators? A: Th ose other banks haven’t necessarily languished with reg-ulators. Both were approved by the FDIC and DBO. Th ey lan-guished in raising the $30 million required in capital to become established. I believe there were 11 approved banks nationwide in the past several years, and only three opened. Th e tough part is getting the investors. You need an investment group that is passionate about opening a bank and dedicated to the cause, and we’re fortunate Blue Gate Bank had this. Q: How is Blue Gate diff erentiating itself from the competition? A: Banking is a very commoditized industry. We all off er virtu-ally the same products and strive to deliver phenomenal service. What makes Blue Gate unique is that our senior management and board are extremely committed to helping businesses suc-ceed. We’re passionate about what we do. We want to be involved in helping our clients’ businesses be successful, and that’s why we are dedicated to off ering the products and services they need to thrive. We try to partner with our clients, looking at their one-, two-and three-year plans and working with them to achieve their goals. If they are successful, then we are as well. Additionally, when clients fi rst meet with a Blue Gate Bank rela-tionship manager, they also get a senior manager. Th is is so important because not only do clients get the person who will be the quarter-back of their relationship, but they also get a senior manager who will be supportive of their business and their journey moving forward. Q: How soon will Blue Gate Bank be profitable? A: We are hoping to be profi table in our second year. Q: What is your anticipated asset size in two, three, fi ve years? A: We expect to reach $300 million in two years; $450 million to $500 million in three; and in fi ve years, that’s a tough question, but we are aiming for $750 million to $1 billion. It’s arguably a real aggressive projection, but that’s where we are aiming.