LOS ANGELES -- John J. Keating has resigned as president and chief executive of CU Bancorp, which lost $3.6 million, last year and came under intense scrutiny by regulators.

Stephen G. Carpenter, a former vice chairman of Security Pacific Corp., replaced Mr. Keating at the $523.1 million-asset banking company, which is based in Encino, Calif.

Mr. Carpenter, 52, was appointed chief executive officer of CU's principal subsidiary, California United Bank, and acting president and chief executive of the holding company, pending "regulatory review," the company announced late Wednesday.

'Time for a Change'

"The board thought it was time for a change. We just weren't performing," said Mr. Carpenter. He played down the regulators' hand in the change, saying he "did not think" they had a role.

Mr. Keating led CU Bancorp since it was founded in 1981. After several years of rapid growth and sterling profits, CU lost $3.6 million in 1991 but made a $595,069 profit in the first quarter of 1992. Nonperforming assets swelled to $20.6 million, or 7.96% of loans, at March 31.

Local bankers said Mr. Keating did not handle the regulatory pressures well. "He's an arrogant guy," said one, who asked not to be identified. "He rubbed the regulators the wrong way."

Mr. Keating could not be reached for comment. He will remain a consultant to CU.

"They need somebody to clean up the loan portfolio and turn the bank around," said Campbell Chaney, an analyst at Sutro & Co., San Francisco. The bank has a healthy Tier 1 capital ratio of 7.31%.

Working out problem loans is "the most important thing I'll do in the next six months," said Mr. Carpenter.

Mr. Carpenter had been in charge of Security Pacific's middle-market bank since 1989. He also ran the private banking business, but had no role after the merger with BankAmerica Corp.

Before 1989, he was an executive vice president of middle-market lending at Wells Fargo Bank.

His middle-market experience will come in handy since that is CU's primary lending forcus.

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