Portland, Oregon-based Pacific West Bank wants to make sure no one is confusing it with PacWest — the Beverly Hills, California-based bank that, after First Republic failed, became arguably the highest-profile regional lender struggling amid a crisis of confidence.
“Pacific West Bancorp (PWBK) is not in any way related to a similarly named Pac West Bancorp (PACW) that has been in the news recently regarding financial difficulties,” reads a blue banner that stretches across the center of the bank’s website. “We understand that there may be some confusion due to the similarity between our names, but we want to assure you that our bank is financially stable and operating normally.”
If the blue banner wasn’t clear enough, an orange banner across the lowest quarter of the page reads, “PWB Has No Association with PacWest Bancorp or Pacific Western Bank,” and includes a phone number that users can call with questions.
“We want to emphasize that we are a completely separate entity, and our financial position remains strong," Jason Wessling, PWB’s president, said in a separate press release Thursday.
It’s not the first time this year that a bank — with a similar name to one in trouble — has sought to distinguish itself.
In the days after the failures of Signature and Silicon Valley Bank, as confidence in regional banks began to stumble, Republic First CEO Thomas Geisel wrote a letter to customers to alleviate any confusion between his Philadelphia-based bank and San Francisco-based First Republic, which in March saw an infusion of $30 billion from 11 of the largest U.S. banks before ultimately being acquired by JPMorgan Chase.
“Amid everything going on, Republic Bank would like to make very clear: we are Republic Bank, Inc. (FRBK-Red/Blue Logo); we are NOT First Republic Bank (FRC-Green Logo),” Geisel wrote in March.
Likewise, PWB sought to distance itself from PacWest, a bank whose shares have plunged 85% so far this year. The bank lost as much as 61% Thursday, a day after Bloomberg reported the California lender was exploring a sale. PacWest, in a press release hours later, said it was considering “all options” and has been “approached by several potential partners and investors.”
Shares of PWB, by comparison, have declined just 3.6% this year, according to Bloomberg.
In Thursday’s press release, Wessling emphasized that PWB is “considered 'well-capitalized' as defined by the FDIC, which is evidenced by our first quarter 2023 earnings release demonstrating our financial strength."
"We want our customers and shareholders to have complete confidence in our ability to continue providing excellent financial services and support," he said. "We are committed to transparency and always keep our stakeholders informed of our financial position."