Pacific Trust Bank in Irvine, Calif., is paying a mortgage firm owned by one of its directors a $100,000-a-month consulting fee to help the bank expand its home lending business.

The arrangement, disclosed in a recent regulatory filing, is designed to give the bank, a unit of First PacTrust Bancorp (BANC), some high-level mortgage expertise following its August acquisition of a community bank that had a large mortgage lending unit. But some industry observers have raised questions about the size of the up-front fee, which appears outsized in an industry where compensation is typically based on productivity and profitability.

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