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City National Bank Moves Its Headquarters Downtown

By Eric Richardson with Rich Alossi
Published: Friday, July 17, 2009, at 02:10PM
City National Bank Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A logo for City National Bank hangs on the side of the tower bearing its name at 6th and Flower.

City National Corp. announced yesterday that it has designated Downtown Los Angeles as the headquarters for both the corporation and its City National Bank subsidiary. The company had been headquartered in Beverly Hills since 1955.

While Downtown Los Angeles was historically home to a number of prominent banks, decades of mergers and acquisitions have left the Central City almost void of the financial headquarters.

City National occupies roughly 381,000 square feet on 15 floors of City National Plaza, where it has 1,000 employees. The move is symbolic in nature -- few if any personnel will make a move -- but is important in terms of Downtown's place in the financial world.

While the names of banking institutions still dominate the Downtown skyline, the vast majority of those companies are based elsewhere. Wells Fargo and Union Bank and headquartered in San Francisco. US Bank is based in Minneapolis. California Bank & Trust calls San Diego home, and East West Bank is located in Pasadena.

That wasn't always the case. Prominent figures like Isaias Hellman and A. P. Giannini made Los Angeles a banking center in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Spring street was known as the "Wall Street of the West" and was one of the most prominent west coast financial addresses.

Today, only a handful of banks make the headquarters Downtown. Several target the Asian market.

Promerica Bank, a new Latino-formed business bank, is at 9th and Figueroa. Cal National Bank is at 3rd and Figueroa, though its parent firm is based in Illinois. Far East National Bank is headquartered on Grand, in California Plaza. Manufacturers Bank has its home on Figueroa at 5th. Cathay Bank makes its headquarters in Chinatown, on Broadway.

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