A U.S. Bancorp veteran who ran 70 branches has taken charge of a troubled seven-branch California bank.

Daniel J. Doyle, 52, took over last month as chief executive officer of $165 million-asset Clovis (Calif.) Community Bank, near Fresno. His predecessor, Donald H. Bruegman, retired.

Since May the bank has been under a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. cease-and-desist order related to Clovest Corp., its money-losing real estate investment subsidiary. The unit was formed in 1989; Mr. Doyle's first major action was to close it down and write off its losses.

"The real estate development business is one the bank shouldn't have been involved with," he said in an interview. "The quality of the portfolio was less than adequate."

Clovis reported a $291,000 loss for the six months ended June 30, after earning $740,000 in all of 1997. It was hit hardest in 1996, losing $482,000.

In a July 16 letter to shareholders Mr. Doyle said Clovis would focus on small-business lending and consumer banking. In the interview he said Clovis would like to expand into contiguous markets, such as Sacramento, by acquisition or establishing new branches.

Mr. Doyle said the well-capitalized bank, ahead of schedule on the plan negotiated with the FDIC, expects the order to be lifted by yearend.

Though he most recently worked in Washington, Mr. Doyle is no stranger to Northern California. Since 1995 he had been a U.S. Bank senior vice president managing the retail and business banking activities of the 70 branches in Seattle-Tacoma-southwest Washington region. But from 1991 to 1995 he was CEO of U.S. Bank of California, Sacramento, where he spearheaded eight acquisitions, building the unit to $2 billion of assets.

"Clovis pulled off a terrific coup" in hiring Mr. Doyle, said Robert J. Gallivan, president of Bank Compensation Strategies Group in San Diego. "They got themselves a real winner."

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