June 3rd – Our Last Month at Bel Air?

PP DAVE WHITEHEAD ran the meeting, and he first explained why he was up there – Pres. PETER was in Hawaii, Pres. Elect RUDY was somewhere (in India, maybe?) and VP DON NELSON had a better offer, so DAVE was who we got! He done good, by the way. DENNIS CORNWELL led the Pledge, followed by PP STEVE DAY and PP JIM DOWNIE taking us through The Battle Hymn of the Republic. YOE, thinking he could be anonymous, asked if this was the best we could do – and PP DAVE immediately offered me the opportunity to share in leadership with the aforementioned duo. I did have the good sense to pass, and things got better from there on. ED GAULD gave the Invocation, first quoting General Dwight Eisenhower’s Proclamation to the World on the day of the landing in France – June 6th, 1944. “You are about to embark on a Great Crusade - the hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine. Your task will not be an easy one – your enemy is well-trained, well-equipped, and battle-hardened. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than total victory. Let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.” This quote was followed by a short prayer, asking that we serve our fellow men who live and die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread. And for all of us, peace and joy. ED, nicely done – and quite timely, certainly.

KACY ROZELLE was asked about Visiting Rotarians, and we did have one – Paul Hornsberg, from Germany, who is in Automotive Supplies. He was the second person to arrive at our meeting today, and a number of our members enjoyed visiting with him. In the exchange of flags, he mentioned that he would be back in July – and PP DAVE spoke right up, saying we might not be here by that time…We had two members of our Rotaract club here – Scott Campbell, Secretary, and Tori Hettinger, their President.

I announced that the District Directories which were scattered about on the tables were there for the taking – and almost all of them were picked up. I then reminded everyone of the Memorial Service for Ellen Bechtel, which will be this Saturday at noon at the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship in Newbury Park. Several persons will join me in attending – it’s important to the family, please.

Birthdays were next on the agenda, but of the six in June, only three were present!

GENE PRINDLE came along in LA on June 2nd, while PP GEORGE DEA choose Hong Kong, on the 4th. RAY ZICKFELD elected Chicago, on the 8th, and GREGG ELLIOTT selected the 11th, in nearby Santa Monica. PP STEVE SCHERER came along ten days later, on the 21st, in Rochelle, Illinois, and FLOYD DEWHIRST was the last, on the 25th, in Harvard (also Illinois). While we did serenade them, there were no gifts, alas, sad to say.

PP DAVE had a message from Pres. PETER, which was delivered via the Power Point system. As the slides changed, PETER described what they showed, and they were excellent, as you would expect. He had a shot of the 22 Flying Rotarians who had gathered, noting that they were landing on almost all the Islands of Hawaii. There was a spectacular shot of Diamond Head with Honolulu in the background, some waterfalls and then lava flowing into the sea, with clouds of steam arising. It certainly was a good overview of PETER and Shirley’s itinerary – and those islands are really photogenic.

MIKE GINTZ reported on attending the International Convention in Osaka – it was his first, and he, like DON NELSON last week, stressed the fact that it was something everyone should experience. As an example of how small the world can be, MIKE was visiting with a Rotarian while manning our PLLUS booth, and this man was from Appleton, Wisconsin. MIKE asked, “Do you by any chance know my brother, Chuck?”

who also lives in Appleton. He did – and that’s a pretty long shot. MIKE spent some time with a couple he first met at the opening ceremony, from Egypt - Rotary really is International. MIKE also gave us some advance notice of the splash created by President Elect RUDY, who appeared with some unusual clothing color combinations, apparently.

MIKE then briefly introduced Scott and Tori, our two Rotaract members. They gave a really fine report on the recent RYLA meeting, which they attended as Advisors/Counselors. This meeting, which had 130 high school students, was described and shown in detail, again using the Power Point screen. Scott and Tori described a number of games and contests, all of which were designed to foster knowing each other better, and as a major byproduct, learning to trust these new friends. It was not only informative for those of us who had only heard of RYLA, but showcased the kind of quality students our Rotaract Club is attracting. You guys can come back anytime – and we hope you will, please.

KACY ROZELLE introduced our Speaker, Dick Cupp. He has had wide experience in the financial services area for 40 years, after getting his BA at UCLA and his MBA in Finance at USC. From there, he was with First Interstate Bancorp in a number of senior and executive positions, including running their European region. 1983 to 1993 he was Executive VP of CalFed, Inc. and for the last several years he has served as CEO of several independent commercial banks. He is now President and CEO of lst Century Bank, located in Century City. They opened for business in March of this year.

Dick confessed that his favorite subject was vintage car racing, but he would confine himself to banking today. He noted that just three major banks, B of A, Morgan Chase, and Citibank, have 22% of all deposits, carry 50% of all credit cards, and they earn three billion dollars a month. Ten years ago, there were 15,000 banks in the U.S. – today there are 4,000. There have been 260 mergers during this period. California community bank stocks have had the best record nationally in these same last ten years. His own bank raised 35 million, but had to return the excess, since they only applied for 26 million. All banks in California have increased their returns by from 6% up to !00%. The basic reason for their success is that they do a better job for their customers

The key phrase in community banking is “It is who you know”, and lst Century Bank publishes the names of their entire staff – at this point, just 18 people. They do fewer things than the large bank – but they do them better. They focus on small businesses.

Note that many banks, of whatever size, are not headquartered locally – and being local helps, of course. Outsourcing will occur in the future for lst. Century – they will buy the help they need as their needs develop.

Q&A – ELLIOTT TURNER, Do you race your 1961 Porsche? Yes, and it is the most focused thing you can do. MIKE YOUSEM, I won’t race you with my 1930 Ford. PP DAVE WHITEHEAD, Will you open branches. That’s a strategic question, and also involves how big you can get. They presently have 25 million in assets, and could go to 100 million. Over time, they could handle 300 million. PP RON LYSTER, How do you compare to lst Republic. They are good. LENNY FRIEDMAN, When will interest rates go up? Either this month, or in August, and the economy can stand l.5% increase in rates.

RAY ZICKFELD, Are your checks returned to the writer. No, you get a miniature picture of both sides of your checks. PP JIM DOWNIE, How do you handle inbound telephone calls? This is a big challenge, but our intent is always to answer with a live person. Once they get to 25 personnel, they may have to look at some adjustment.

Dick Cupp, thanks for being with us – an interesting growth story.

Three advance notes – NEXT WEEK, we meet at the Bel Air, but in the regular restaurant, OK?

And looking way ahead, to August – on the 16th the Braille Fishing Trip – save that date, and ask STEW GILMAN for a testimonial.

On the 21st, the Rotary Fun Party, at the home of RUDY’S daughter, in Hancock Park.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe