Southern California's "bank to the stars" is pushing inland in the second spurt of its recent growth spree.

Beverly Hills-based City National Corp., the largest independent bank based in Southern California, has agreed to pay $39 million in cash and stock for nearby Riverside National Bank.

The acquisition would propel $3.9 billion-asset City National into Riverside County, a bustling expanse of suburban Los Angeles that stretches eastward to the Arizona border.

The purchase price is estimated to be 1.8 times Riverside's book value on June 30.

The deal is the second this year for City National, demonstrating its determination to establish a strong presence throughout Southern California - particular in the growing economy of the Inland Empire region of southeastern California.

"We felt that to fully serve the entire Southern California economy we really needed to extend our kind of banking into Ventura and Riverside and the Inland Empire," said president and chief executive Russell Goldsmith. "We think it enhances our ability to provide Southern California with a premier bank."

City National agreed last month to buy Ventura County National Bancorp, which would add four offices in wealthy Ventura County and two in Orange County, north of the city. That deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 1997.

The deal for Riverside, the oldest and largest commercial bank based in that county, would give City National $242 million more in assets, adding four branches and 130 employees.

Company officials say they'd like to buy banks that fit its focus on individuals with high net worth and small businesses in select industries. The company has made a name for itself in particular by focusing on the entertainment industry.

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