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John Biggs, who drove growth at Luther Burbank Savings through its real estate loan business and later successfully navigated its public stock offering, said Dec. 3 that he will retire as the bank’s president and chief executive officer on Jan. 2.

Biggs, 63, will be succeeded by Simone Lagomarsino, president and chief executive officer of the Western Bankers Association. At the beginning 2018, the California Bankers Association and Western Independent Bankers merged and Lagomarsino took her top job at the politically powerful group in Sacramento.

“I have been here 32 years. It’s a long time. I was CFO, COO and CEO. I wouldn’t been able to do all of this without the Trione ownership,” Biggs said in an interview. “It will be time for me to do some other things.”

Luther Savings Corp. is the owner of Luther Burbank Savings, a Santa Rosa-based bank that has carved a niche among affluent customers who appreciate the bank’s certificate of deposit interest rates higher than competitor financial institutions. The bank has used those deposits to make loans in the real estate sector, specifically in apartment housing. It has total assets of $6.7 billion as of Sept. 30.

Vic Trione, chairman of the board, and his brother, Mark, are the primary shareholders. A year ago, the banking company went public with a stock offering, but the Triones still control more than 50 percent of the outstanding stock.

Biggs will remain as a consultant through next year, though will step down from the company’s board of directors.

The leadership transition should go smoothly, Biggs said, noting that Lagomarsino previously worked in an executive position with Hawthorne Financial Corp.

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