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Opus Bank Forms Merchant Banking Division

July 11, 2013, 07:57 AM

Opus Bank announced the formation of its merchant banking division, which will operate as Opus Financial Partners. Opus’ new merchant banking division will lead and participate in institutional syndications of commercial and corporate C&I credits, as well as provide advisory, consultative, and transaction services to Opus Bank’s client base, which is comprised of small and mid-sized commercial businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate investors, and professionals based in the Western region. In addition, Opus’ merchant banking division will provide correspondent banking products, services, and solutions to small and mid-sized financial institutions.

The bank also announced that Geoff Anfuso and Jason Raefski have been appointed senior managing directors of Opus Bank’s new merchant banking division. Anfuso will lead the bank’s institutional syndications efforts, including sourcing, placing, and underwriting credit opportunities through both new issuance and the secondary market. Raefski will focus on M&A advisory, equity raising and debt issuance, strategic planning, capital structure and earnings improvement analysis, and other advisory services provided to the bank’s corporate, business, and real estate investor clients. Additionally, Raefski will head up the bank’s capital markets, secondary marketing, and correspondent banking efforts within the division.

Stephen H. Gordon, founding chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Opus Bank, stated, “We are pleased to welcome Geoff and Jason as they join Opus to lead the growth of the bank’s new merchant banking division. While the bgank has provided many of these products, services, and solutions to its clients through Opus Bank’s unique relationship-based approach to financially partnering with and advising its clients, the additions of Geoff and Jason to our senior leadership team will provide Opus’ clients a more extensive range and dedicated delivery of merchant banking and advisory services, delivered  in a manner that is reminiscent of the old days of banking, when banks and bankers were viewed as trusted partners.” Gordon added, “This new division represents another dimension through which we can become more meaningful to our clients’ expressed needs, and continues the evolution and maturation of Opus as we grow the Bank from over $3.0 billion in total assets today to becoming the dominant relationship-based regional bank on the West Coast.”

Anfuso, an 11-year banking veteran, joins Opus from Wells Fargo, where he most recently served as senior vice president, team lead of the Greater Los Angeles Commercial Banking Division. Earlier, Anfuso served as senior vice president within Wells Fargo’s Capital Finance division, where he focused on the structuring and managing of corporate and middle market C&I credit facilities. Anfuso began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Financial Advisory Service practice, where he focused on corporate turnaround, restructuring, and insolvency engagements.

Raefski, a 20-year banking veteran, has extensive experience in the areas of strategic planning, asset/liability management, balance sheet restructuring, and investment portfolio management and trading for small and mid-sized financial institutions. Mr. Raefski joins the Bank from Sunwest Bank where he served as Chief Financial Officer from October 2007 to May 2013. As CFO, Raefski engaged in multiple bank acquisitions, and focused on balance sheet, tax, capital, and risk management strategies and earnings improvement, thereby enhancing shareholder value. Earlier in his career, Mr. Raefski served as Senior Vice President, Director of Finance for Commercial Capital Bank from its formation in June 1997 through its sale to Washington Mutual in October 2006. Mr. Raefski started his career with the investment banking firm Sandler O'Neill & Partners in 1992.

Opus Bank is an FDIC insured California-chartered commercial bank with $3.0 billion of total assets, $2.3 billion of total loans, and $2.1 billion in total deposits, as of March 31, 2013.

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