The community banks of California - hammered in recent years by real estate woes, defense industry layoffs, and natural disasters - are finally seeing some sunshine.

Their profitability has been rising steadily since late 1993, when the group barely broke even. The state's 394 banks with assets of less than $2 billion returned 0.41% on their assets in the fourth quarter of last year, according to preliminary figures.

"We're certainly seeing improvement," said Boyd Lindquist, president of Republic Bank in Southern California's Torrance. (See story on page 6.)

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.