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Opus in California Launches National Health Care Business

Opus Bank (OPB) in Irvine, Calif., is turning its health care banking into a national operation.

The $4 billion-asset company's health care unit provides financing and banking services to medical centers, pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers. The unit was launched a year ago, with a focus on developing business within its West Coast footprint.

With the new expansion, Opus has extended the division's reach to eastern states, hiring executives in Nashville, Tenn., and Tampa, Fla.

"This expansion continues the evolution and maturation of Opus to becoming the premier financial institution for health care banking clients seeking tailored, relationship-based products, services and solutions as they expand and grow," Michael Allison, a co-president at Opus, said in a Wedensday press release.

Opus has hired Gregory Ratliff to oversee relationships with large health care providers. He previously worked at Regions Bank (RF) in Tennessee, where he was a managing director of the bank's corporate health care department. Before that, he was an executive in the health care division at U.S. Bank (USB). He will be based in Nashville.

The company also hired Frank Balkum to develop its business with dental, veterinary and ophthalmology offices. He will also specialize in financing for group practices, including acquisitions and partner buy-ins and buy-outs. Balkum was previously the chief executive at Rx Financial. He will be based in Tampa.

The announcement comes one day after Opus said it would launch a new small-business banking division. The company has also established merchant banking and commercial real estate units in the past year.

The bank operates 60 offices, primarily along the West Coast.

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