As a California native, John G. Rebelo Jr. has endured his share of earthquakes. But the chief executive officer at Peninsula Bank of San Diego said nothing could have prepared him for the jolt he received last week while visiting Taiwan on business.

Mr. Rebelo was in a Taipei hotel when the massive quake, which killed more than 2,000 people in the tiny country, struck. Though he and his wife escaped unscathed from their 19th-floor hotel room, Mr. Rebelo said he has never been so frightened.

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