Bank seeks to raise loan limit through public offeringNOVATO -- Circle Bancorp, the parent of Circle Bank, has made the initial steps to becoming a publicly traded company, intending to raise between $20 million and $30 million in capital through an initial public offering of stock, according to a recent regulatory filing.

The offering will end either at the bank’s discretion after the minimum offering of $20 million is sold as of Dec. 15 of this year. If the offering is completed, shares will be issued on the closing date. If the minimum number of shares are not sold, funds will be returned.

According to the filing, the bank’s current commercial lending activities tend to focus on businesses and professionals who are also depositors and in amounts within the bank's "legal lending limit." As of June 30, that limit was approximately $6.6 million, which would increase to approximately $11.4 million if all of the shares of common stock offered are sold, according to the filing.

Pricing of the initial public offering hasn't been filed yet.

“A key element of the bank’s plans for expansion is to strengthen core deposits by focusing on business banking and business lending to clients from whom we can obtain their entire core deposit banking relationship,” the document read.

It stated that the bank has strengthened its cash-management services to include remote deposit and online cash management and has targeted marketing and business development efforts to attract these clients.

Noninterest-bearing deposits increased to 11.8 percent of total deposits as of June 30, 2010, from 8.1 percent 12 months before, according to the filing.

[caption id="attachment_26072" align="alignright" width="235" caption="Kit Cole"][/caption]

Headquartered in Novato, Circle Bank has 56 employees and branches in Marin, San Francisco and Sonoma counties. The bank was established in 1990 under the name New West Thrift and Loan Company. It changed its name in 1998 to Novato Community Bank and in 2003 to Circle Bank.

Total reported assets as of June 30 were $308 million. Loans, net of allowance for loss, were $243 million. There was a $773,000 loan loss allowance. Deposits totaled $226 million. The total risk-based capital ratio was 12.55 percent.

Kit Cole became the chief executive officer and chairman of the board in 2008. She had been a director and chairman emeritus of Circle Bancorp and Circle Bank since December 1998.

Ms. Cole has experience in taking a bank public. In 2001 she founded Epic Bancorp, which later became Tamalpais Bancorp. During her tenure, the bank expanded from one location to seven branches and grew to more than $525 million in total assets. She led the public offering, which was completed in 2004.