Ned Dean, chairman of San Francisco's Pacific Bank, is ready to start being a banker.

Even though Mr. Dean has been the top executive at Pacific Bank for almost a year, he hasn't been doing much banking. In fact, no one at Pacific Bank has been doing much banking in the last year.

That's because Pacific Bank has been consumed with mere survival.

"I don't think theres any other bank in California that's gone through what we went through and come out healthy," Mr. Dean said in an interview. "No question about it -- everyone thought we were dead."

The revival of Pacific Bank, founded in 1983 to serve wealthy individuals and the Pacific trade business, ran into trouble in 1990 with real estate investments. By the middle of this year it had lost more than $60 million in 18 months, and 16% of its assets were nonperforming -- the highest ratio of any bank in California.

Racing a Deadline

Mr. Dean and chief operating officer Leonard Busse began running the bank in the spring after a series of run-ins with examiners from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and a failed attempt at raising $10.7 million in capital.

The duo rethought the bank's entire business plan and, in June, set about raising $25 million before the Comptroller's Dec. 31 deadline.

"We basically started from scratch this summer," Mr. Dean said. "By the time we were ready to go to investors with a plan to revive the bank, we had just three months to raise $25 million."

Last week, Mr. Dean, with the help of Keef, Bruyette & Woods, raised $30.5 million from the salle of purchase rights to existing stockholders and $27 million in new stock placed to several domestic investors.

The new capital brought Pacific into compliance with its regulatory orders.

Drastic Downsizing

Mr. Dean said getting a major firm like Keefe on board was key to the recapitalization's success. Another key element, he said, was convincing investors that Pacific had fixed the parts of its operation that had got it into trouble, and that it could earn money in a normal situation.

It also helped that Pacific had cut its staff by more than two-thirds and its assets by more than half, to $400 million.

"Our plan it to be profitable by the first quarter," Mr. Dean said. "We think that's doable, after some minor realignments and outsourcing left to do."

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