James W. Kao, Ph.D.
Chairman and DirectorJames W. Kao, Ph.D. Dr. Kao is the Chairman of the Board, and has served as a member since 2015. Dr. Kao had a long and distinguished career at Philip Morris, USA in the research and development department. Since his retirement in 1998, Dr. Kao has been a successful investor in many companies. Dr. Kao holds a B.A. from National Taiwan University, an M.B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and his Ph.D. from Miami University. Our Board considered Dr. Kao’s experiences as an investor and his educational background in determining that he should be a member of our Board.
DirectorChristina Kao. Ms. Kao has been a local business owner in Las Vegas, Nevada since 2017. From 2009 to 2017, Ms. Kao worked in purchasing, marketing, and new business development for leading chemical and material science corporations, such as Solvay, Dow Chemical, and DuPont. Prior to 2009, she was a consultant and CFO for a non-profit engineering consulting firm for six years. Having also consulted for a biotech start-up specializing in diagnostics and a food start-up, her extensive marketing portfolio includes strategies to support products at the beginning of their life cycle to the end, with sales channels to both businesses (B2B) and consumers (B2C), grass roots marketing and SEO. Ms. Kao holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She is passionate about mentoring youth and is trained in Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Our Board considered Ms. Kao’s diverse industry experience in marketing and her leadership as a small business owner in determining that she should be a member of our Board.
Joyce Wong Lee
DirectorJoyce Wong Lee, ERPA. Mrs. Lee is founder and president of California Benefit Planners (CBP) at Pasadena, a retirement plan consulting and design firm providing services nationally to all range of business entities to sponsor qualified retirement plans under ERISA law since 1994. Mrs. Lee holds a B.S. and M.Ed from Texas A&M University at Kingsville, Texas. Mrs. Lee is passionate about providing consultation services to her clientele for planning towards retirement through pension programs. As an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA), Mrs. Lee has successfully practiced and represented her clientele’s pension programs before the IRS. Our Board considered Ms. Wong's knowledge of investment products, particularly for financial planning and retirement, and her strong ties to the Chinese-American small business community in determining that she should be a member of our Board.
Chuang-I (Christopher) Lin, Ph.D.
DirectorChuang-I (Christopher) Lin, Ph.D. Dr. Lin has served as a Board member since 2010. Dr. Lin is the President and Chairman of three separate specialty real estate firms: Forte Resources, Inc., which specializes in senior and affordable housing management and development, Sonnycal Development Company, which specializes in real estate development in market-rate residential houses and industrial warehouses, and Linkage Financial Group Inc., which specializes in real estate development in China. Dr. Lin previously served as a director of General Bank from 1981 to 2003. Dr. Lin holds a B.S. from Cheng Kung University, a M.S. from National Tsing Hua University and a Ph.D. from Duquesne University. Our Board considered Dr. Lin’s real estate background, specifically in affordable housing, and his prior experience as a bank director in determining that he should be a Board member.
DirectorGeraldine Pannu. Ms. Pannu has over 25 years experience in investment and financial management, fund operations, consulting and marketing. She is the Managing Partner of GLTJ Pioneer Capital, a real estate firm specializing in development and fixed income investments. Ms. Pannu is an Independent Board of Director for Processa Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PCSA). She also mentors several startup companies and assists them as Interim CFO. Previously, she was the managing Director of Golden Gate Global, one of the largest EB5 regional centers in Northern California. She was the COO and Managing Partner for ChinaRock Capital Management, a leading hedge and venture capital fund company in San Francisco for nearly 10 years. She worked in McKinsey & Co, Monitor Company as a management consultant before and after business school. She had successfully raised capital for several hedge, venture capital and real estate funds. Ms. Pannu was born in Shanghai and grew up in Hong Kong. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Chinese University of Hong Kong and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Shanghainese. Our Board considered Ms. Pannu's investment and financial expertise as well as her involvement in the Chinese-American business community in determining that she should be a member of our Board.
David R. Morris
Director and Chief Executive OfficerDavid R. Morris. Mr. Morris has served as a Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and the Bank. Prior to his appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer in February 2022, Mr. Morris has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Bank since February 2010 and of the Company since 2011. He serves on our Board’s asset/liability committee, information technology and security committee, community reinvestment act committee, and a non-voting member of the Directors’ Loan Committee. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Morris was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Metro Pacific Bank from August 2007 to June 2009, and its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operations Officer from October 2006 to July 2007. He was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operations Officer of San Diego Community Bank from June 2003 to September 2006, the Vice President and Controller of Community National Bank from 1999 to 2003, the Vice President and Manager of participant accounting at City National Bank (formerly North American Trust Company) in 1999, its Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Risk Management Officer and Director from 1997 to 1998, and its Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer from 1991 to 1996. Mr. Morris started his career with First Interstate Bank, Ltd. in 1986 followed with being controller for Banker’s Trust Company of California, a subsidiary of Banker’s Trust Company. Mr. Morris holds a B.S. from University of Maryland and an M.B.A. from University of Southern California. Mr. Morris is on the Economic Development Commission for the City of Oceanside, is on the Board for California State University, Fullerton, Entrepreneurship Program, and Zeta Psi Educational Foundation.
DirectorScott Polakoff. Mr. Polakoff has served more than 25 years as a federal banking regulator, including eight years as the FDIC Chicago Regional Director and three years as the OTS Chief Operating Officer. Upon retiring from government service in 2009, Scott joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a Principal in its regulatory practice. In 2011 he joined FinPro, Inc., to lead its consulting regulatory team. Scott earned his B.S. (accounting) from West Chester University, is a 1992 graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, a 1998 graduate of the Federal Executive Institute’s “Leadership for a Democratic Society” and a 2002 graduate of the Management Certification Program at Loyola University, Chicago, IL. He obtained his Series 24, 79, and 63 FINRA licenses in 2012. He achieved his CAMS certificate in 2018. Scott also teaches at the Colorado Graduate School of Banking. Our Board considered Mr. Polakoff’s 25 years of experience as a federal banking regulator involvement in determining that he should be a member of our Board.
DirectorRobert Franko. Mr. Franko has more than 35 years of commercial banking experience, most recently serving 8 years as the President & CEO of First Choice Bancorp (NASDAQ:FCBP), which was sold to Enterprise Financial Services Corp (NASDAQ:EFSC) in July 2021. During his tenure as CEO of First Choice Bancorp, the company achieved a consistent track record of growth and exceptional earnings, combined with high returns on assets and tangible equity. Mr. Franko led the effort to bring the company public and to have it included in the Russell 2000® Index. Earlier in his career, he headed the $10 Billion Trust Department for City National Bank and prior to that, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Imperial Bancorp (IMP-NYSE) before it was sold to Comerica (CMA-NYSE). Prior to joining First Choice, Mr. Franko was the founder and CEO of four different banks, including one commercial bank, one international bank, one trust bank and one industrial loan company. Mr. Franko has a long history with M&A transactions, both on the buy-side and the sell-side. He also has experience as the CFO of Canary Wharf Development Co., one of the largest real estate developments in the world. Mr. Franko has been a long-time director of the largest bankers’ bank in the US, TIB, NA and its holding company TIB, Inc. At TIB, he served as the Chairman of the Board from 2019 to 2021. He holds a BS degree from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of International Management at Arizona State University. Our Board considered Mr. Franko’s 35 years of commercial banking experience in determining that he should be a member of our Board.
William A Bennett
DirectorWilliam A. Bennett. Mr. Bennett served over 26 years with the 12th District of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Portland and Seattle Branches, as Senior Regional Account Officer in its Financial Services Division from 1996 to 2022. He was responsible for long-term consultative correspondent banking relationships with financial institutions, vendors, service bureaus, and payment associations throughout the Pacific Northwest and Mountain states, providing retail banking payment product solutions, risk and cash management services, and merger/acquisition/regulation/de novo guidance. Previously Mr. Bennett was with Figgie International Inc., Cleveland, Ohio and held various industrial engineering project management assignments for its corporate divisions of Rawlings Sporting Goods, Scott Aviation, American LaFrance, Kline Foundries, and Greer Hydraulics. Mr. Bennett holds a B.S. in Business Administration in Economics and Finance from Miami University, a M.B.A concentration in Accounting from the University of Oregon and held the Certified Cash Manager (CCM) and Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) designations from the Association for Financial Professionals and NACHA. Our Board considered Mr. Bennett’s experience in the banking industry in determining that he should be a member of our Board.
DirectorFrank Wong. Mr. Wong brings more than 25 years of experience in banking and financial services. Over his career, he has been responsible for leading and directing asset liability and interest rate risk, growth strategies, cost reduction and process improvement initiatives, technology implementations, capital management, and external regulatory reporting to the FDIC and Securities and Exchange Commission for institutions ranging in size from $150 million to $10 billion in assets. Mr. Wong served as Controller at Mission Valley Bank (2010 – 2020); Director of Financial Reporting at Douglas Emmett (2008-2010); VP Controller at Kaiser Federal Bank (2005-2008); Financial Reporting Officer at First Federal Bank (2003- 2005). Mr. Wong holds his B.S. degree in Finance from the California State University of Los Angeles. Mr. Wong is a graduate from Pacific Coast Banking School. Pacific Coast Banking School, in partnership with the Foster Graduate School of Business at the University of Washington, is a three-year, master’s-level management and executive leadership extension program for senior and executive officers in the Banking Industry. Mr. Wong currently serves as CEO of Energy Trinity, an energy analytics and consulting firm focused on long term financial and environmental gains achieved through electric vehicles, solar, and battery energy storage adoption. He is credited with authoring, developing, and bringing to the U.S. market the world’s only multidimensional data model that encompasses financial elements and energy dynamics of gasoline vehicles and household/business electricity consumption, usage, and related historical and projected future energy costs, fully offset by electric vehicle energy consumption paired with solar energy generation and battery energy storage. Our Board considered Mr. Wong’s experience in the banking and financial industry in determining that he should be a member of our board.