Malaga’s mission – Malaga Bank credits its success to its local focus

Peninsula Chamber CEO Eileen Hupp, Providence Little Company of Mary Communications Director Andrew Werts and Malaga Bank CFO Jasna Penich.

Malaga Bank CFO Jasna Penich (center) with Malaga Bank development officers Sacha Ohara and Julia Parton.

by Stacey A. Morse

The people at Malaga Bank take the title “community bank” seriously, using their time, labor and money to support the area’s students, small businesses and numerous nonprofits, while turning around loans for community members in short order.

Last month, those efforts were recognized at the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce’s Salute to Business luncheon, when Malaga Bank was presented with the Excellence in Business Award.

Jasna Penich, Malaga Bank’s executive vice president and CFO, said maintaining a stable staff is key to its community-based approach. Though the bank is only 36 years old, many of its employees have been with the bank for more than 10 years, and some for more than 20.

“For an institution with 74 full time employees, that proportion of tenured employees is something the Board and management is proud of. It shows stability, personnel development, and a collective culture that has proven itself for over 35 years,” Penich said in accepting the award.

“Malaga has been about community outreach since day one. We’re still local and yet we can compete with the big guys. People are starting to value more local business than they did five years ago,” Penich said in an interview.

Malaga’s staff gives back to the community with sponsorships, fundraising and employee involvement with more than 60 local non-profits and other small businesses.

This holiday season, Malaga branches collected “Toys for the Troops Kids,” for families who have service members overseas, in addition to a Thanksgiving food drive.

Ninety-five percent of Malaga’s employees live in the South Bay.

“Community banking equals specialized knowledge of the community and customers. Our customers are our neighbors. Most of our employees live and work in the community that we serve,” said Julia Parton, vice president and business development officer.

Maliga chairperson Randy Bowers serves on the Los Angeles County 4th Supervisorial District Consolidated Oversight Board, and on the boards of Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, and Marymount University.

Penich served the Grand Vision Foundation, which among other projects, helped save the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro. She also is on the board of Shakespeare By The Sea, which performs outdoors in 35 different cities each summer.

Parton, a 25-year Rotarian, is chair of community service of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Rotary, chair of the PVP Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the PVE Foundation board. Past posts include chair of the PVP High School Athletic Booster Club, and president of the PV Junior Women’s club.  

Sacha Ohara, senior vice president, and business development officer, serves on the boards of the Torrance Cultural Arts Association, Torrance Police Foundation, and the Cancer Support Community of Redondo Beach, and is a member of the Torrance Kiwanis. 

Parton noted that when the pandemic locked down the community, “We were identified as an essential business. Senior management did a great job of keeping us open. We weathered the unknown along with the community.” The bank provided PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans through the Small Business Administration.

“We have supported the people of our community since we started, and the bigger we’ve grown, the more we’ve been able to give back,” Penich said. PEN

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