Chairman, chief executive officer Westamerica, San Rafael, Calif.
When David L. Payne became chairman of Westamerica Bancorp. five years ago at the age of 32, he had just one credential: his family was one of the bank's biggest shareholders.
Mr. Payne's only banking experience was a few years spent as a board member. When he took over as chief executive in 1989, many wrote him off as unqualified to run a bank reeling from management scandals and bad loans.
But look again. Under Mr. Payne's guidance, $1.4 billion-asset Westamerica has cleaned up its loan mess and become the largest independent bank in Northern California. Completion of a pending acquisition of nearby Napa Valley Bancorp will take Westamerica near the $2 billion mark.
Based in San Rafael, Westamerica serves a mix of retail and small-business customers. Its performance has steadily improved, earning a record $10.3 million in the first nine months of 1992, a return on assets of 1.01%.
Short on banking experience, Mr. Payne brought with him business smarts honed by years spent running his family's publishing company. "He's got a very solid business perspective," says Michael B. Abrahams, an investment banker with Oppenheimer & Co.
Mr. Payne is a conservative lender who stopped making construction loans in 1989. But he is an aggressive business promoter who keeps his staff busy calling on customers.