After posting its fifth consecutive quarterly loss and falling out of compliance with a regulatory order, Pacific Capital Bancorp said Thursday that it is weighing "strategic alternatives" — which usually means a company is on the sales block.

In an interview, George Leis, the Santa Barbara, Calif., company's president and chief executive, would not say what alternatives it is considering. However, he noted that Pacific had hired Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP, an investment bank whose services include advice on mergers and acquisitions. "We are looking at all strategic initiatives," he said, "and that is why we brought in a company like Sandler O'Neill to help us."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.