First PacTrust Tries to Get the Ball Rolling with Insider Trades

First PacTrust Bancorp ( BANC ) is a $1.7 billion multi-bank holding company. The company provides commercial, residential and consumer banking in California as well as loan offices in Arizona, Oregon and Washington. Based out of Irvine, Calif., First PacTrust has a market cap of $133.1 million.

On March 5 First PacTrust announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 per share on its outstanding stock. This marks the eighth cash dividend that goes towards First PacTrust's Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP). The participants in this DRIP program could choose to convert their cash dividend directly back into BANC shares at a 3% discount from the current market price.

CEO of First PacTrust Bancorp Steven Sugarman added 10,057 shares to his stake on March 6 in order to get the ball rolling on the DRIP program. The shares traded at an average cost of $11.18. This transaction cost Sugarman $112,437. This is Sugarman's first buy since he sold 417,827 shares in August 2012. Director Robb Evans also added 10,000 shares at $11 each, costing him a total of $110,000.

Sugarman comes to First PacTrust with a strong past in finance and investments. He was previously a founding partner and portfolio manager for GPS Partners LLC and from 2004 to 2005 he worked at Lehman Brothers overseeing portfolios of debt, equity and other investments. Sugarman is also licensed as a California real estate broker and bember of the California State Bar. Sugarman co-authored "The Forewarned Investor: Don't Get Fooled Again by Corporate Fraud" and holds a degree from Yale Law School.

For 2012 the company announced a net loss of $3.2 million compared to the $5.6 million loss of 2011. Non-interest income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was at $16 million.

"First PacTrust Bancorp is well positioned in terms of its team, capital and strategy," said Sugarman. "We continue to focus on the closing of the acquisition of The Private Bank of California, the realization of operating synergies relating to our recently closed acquisitions, and the continued expansion of our Commercial Banking and Residential Lending platforms. We remain confident in our ability to execute these key initiatives and demonstrate the considerable earnings power of our franchise."

With its stock up 1.98% this afternoon, First PacTrust Bancorp trades at $11.34.

No Gurus followed by GuruFocus hold shares in First PacTrust.

For more information on insider trading within First PacTrust look at Steven Sugarman's Market Overview.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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