Pacific Capital Bancorp in Santa Barbara, Calif., is cutting 22% of its work force, or 300 people.

The $9.6 billion-asset company announced late Wednesday that it would complete the cuts by the end of the second quarter and incur $3 million to $5 million of severance expenses.

Pacific Capital said the cuts would save about $20 million a year and help it maintain capital.

"Given the length and depth of the current recession, preserving capital is critical," George S. Leis, its president and CEO, said in a press release.

The cuts will be spread "across all of our markets and in all of our business units" to ensure customer service is not affected, Leis said.

Though Pacific Capital was well capitalized at yearend, it has been hurt by bad construction and development loans. It lost $41.8 million in the fourth quarter after provisioning $68.8 million for loan losses.

The company lost $12.2 million a year earlier.

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