SAN FRANCISCO — City National Bank of Los Angeles, a newcomer to Northern California, has hired a Bank of America Corp. executive to head its new Silicon Valley private banking practice.

Jenette Garretty, the team leader and senior vice president of Bank of America’s private bank office on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road, has joined City National’s five-person Palo Alto office and taken responsibility for bringing in high-net-worth clients, a job similar to her role at Bank of America.

Ms. Garretty joined Bank of America’s private bank two and a half years ago. Before that she had been an economist at the Charlotte, N.C., banking company.

Last year, as part of Bank of America’s West Coast expansion, she opened its Menlo Park office and was responsible for making it a “viable and accessible operation,” she said Monday.

Ms. Garretty said she took the new job because “City National presented me with such an exceptional opportunity.” And indeed she is starting off with an even greener operation than with her previous posting.

Though City National, the flagship subsidiary of $9.1 billion-asset City National Corp., has built a successful niche among business and high-net-worth clients in Southern California, it is a relative newcomer in the fast-growing San Francisco Bay Area.

Last year the company bought the $728 million-asset Pacific Bank of San Francisco. The deal included an office in the high-tech-rich town of Burlingame. In September, City National opened the Palo Alto office for its growing technology banking practice and a planned private banking presence.

Ms. Garretty, the company’s first private banker to be based in Silicon Valley, will work closely with the company’s five-year-old technology practice. Robert Brant, an executive vice president in the company’s Northern California operation, said the commercial banking practice, which targets small and midsize companies, is a natural fit with private banking services.

Three years ago City National hired Beth Kinsey, an executive from Silicon Valley Bancshares, the largest commercial banker to the area’s high-tech companies, as a senior vice president and manager of its technology group. Ms. Garretty said she will coordinate the development of the private banking practice with Ms. Kinsey.

In addition to the many investment banking companies and out-of-state commercial banks that have rushed to mine the Nasdaq-generated wealth in Northern California in recent years, many of the state’s larger community banks, such as Greater Bay Bancorp of Palo Alto, have also used their business banking expertise to gain private banking clients there.

City National is planning to further expand its Palo Alto office. Mr. Brant said the Palo Alto office is “looking to have a staff in 10-12 range” eventually, including technology-focused commercial bankers.

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