Hawthorne Financial Corp.in El Segundo, Calif., the parent of Hawthorne Savings, has hired Karen C. Abajian to be chief financial officer. She reports to Simone Lagomarsino, president and chief executive officer.

Ms. Abajian was a senior vice president and controller of Imperial Bank in Inglewood, Calif. She has more than 10 years of financial management experience, including as supervising senior accountant at KPMG in Los Angeles.

Hawthorne Savings, a subsidiary, has $1.62 billion of assets.

Interwest Bancorp in Oak Harbor, Wash., has appointed David H. Straus executive vice president and chief credit officer for it and its Interwest Bank subsidiary, also in Oak Harbor.Mr. Straus reports to Patrick M. Fahey, president and CEO of the parent company.

In 1988 Mr. Straus helped form Pacific Northwest Bank in Seattle, and Interwest bought it in June 1998. Most recently he was chief credit officer at Pacific Northwest.

He has more than 30 years of banking experience in credit and loan administration, including managerial and executive posts at U.S. Bank of Washington, where he worked for a year, and Old National Bank of Washington, where he worked five years.

In addition Interwest has hired Michael Besselievre to be senior vice president and chief information officer. The veteran of 20 years in the computer field is to direct the company's information systems, item processing department, and data storage systems.

Interwest Bancorp has $2.8 billion of assets.

Vail Banks Inc. has promoted Tim LyBarger, Don Oberto, Ken Trausch, and Don Vanderhoof to president of retail banking in the four regions covered by its principal subsidiary, WestStar Bank.Mr. LyBarger, formerly Eagle County market manager, now is president of the Eagle County region. He joined WestStar in February 1996.

Mr. Oberto is president of the Western Slope region. He is also a member of the bank's board of directors. He joined WestStar in October 1996 and has more than 20 years of banking experience.

Mr. Trausch is president of the Summit County region. He started at WestStar in July 1999 as senior vice president of the Breckenridge office after being president of the Bank of Breckenridge. He has 14 years of local experience.

Mr. Vanderhoof is president of the Roaring Fork region. He is also a member of both the bank and parent company boards. In 1956, with his father and brother, he established Glenwood Independent Bank, where he became president in 1969. Vail Banks bought Glenwood Independent in 1998.

WestStar is headquartered in Vail, Colo., and has $470.8 million of assets.

MIDDLE ATLANTICWillow Grove Bancorp in Maple Glen, Pa., has promoted Christopher E. Bell, vice president and controller of its Willow Grove Bank subsidiary, to senior vice president and chief financial officer. He succeeds John J. Foff Jr. who resigned to become president of Malvern Savings Bank in Paoli, Pa.

Mr. Bell has worked at the bank since 1992 and was on the management team involved in its December 1998 conversion to a public company.

Before joining Willow Grove Mr. Bell was vice president of operations at Sellersville Savings and Loan Association in Perkasie, Pa., where he worked for three years. Previously he had been vice president and controller at Hamilton Reliance Bank in Philadelphia, which he joined in 1977.

Willow Grove Bank has $564 million of assets.

Beneficial Savings Bank in Philadelphia has promoted senior executive vice president and chief financial officer George W. Nise to president and chief executive officer. He succeeds Armond F. Gentile who retired after six and a half years in the posts.Mr. Nise, 58, began his career at Beneficial in 1970 as an auditor and became, successively, assistant vice president, controller, and senior vice president in the auditing and accounting department. Before joining Beneficial he was a senior bank examiner for the state of Pennsylvania for six years.

Beneficial Savings has $1.8 billion of assets.

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