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DOWNEY - One more proof that looks can be deceiving is the case of Tony Diep, ever-smiling and unobtrusive at the Rotary meetings (he became a member only last year, sponsored by Rich Strayer), but obviously someone to reckon with, as he (also last year) took over as vice-president and regional manager of the Downey branch of Pacific Western Bank.
With $5.4 billion in assets and 67 full-service branch locations throughout California, Pacific Western is the 14th largest commercial bank headquartered in the state out of some 239 financial institutions, according to its brochure, serving small to large businesses for over 30 years now. Company headquarters are located on Constellation Boulevard in Los Angeles.
By many measures, it is commonplace knowledge that Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase are normally considered the current leaders in the banking industry.
"We are strong in business banking," Tony said. "To put it another way, Pacific Western is strong in commercial lending, or asset-based financing, such as accounts receivable, inventory, equipment or technology financing."
Indeed, one of the basic financial aspects Pacific Western emphasizes is the importance of cash flow, to take advantage of trade discount opportunities.
"But whatever the business at hand is, we try to give personalized service to our clients or business partners," Tony said.
Tony's family left Hanoi, Vietnam right after the conclusion of the Vietnam War. He was 7-8 years old at the time. The family, consisting of two older brothers, one older sister, and a younger sister, and his parents, of course, settled in El Sereno, in East L.A. Tony, born in 1970, graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, near Cal State L.A.
Tony's grandparents had owned a leather factory before the Communist regime in Hanoi confiscated it along with all the other private businesses in North Vietnam. His grandfather came to the U.S. with them.
After obtaining a BA in economics and psychology from UC Irvine in 1994, he started working for Wells Fargo as a part-timer. The job became a full-time one, with him going to various assignments for 10 years in the Orange County area, and progressing from teller to banker to assistant manager to manager. Then he was the U.S. Bank manager at the Westminster Mall for a year and a half, then was serving as manager of the Affinity Bank in Irvine when it was absorbed by Pacific Western Bank in 2009. He was assigned to Downey on May 12, 2012.
First introduced to the Rotary in July 2012, he was installed as a Rotarian that September.
His other memberships are with the Downey and Santa Fe Springs Chambers of Commerce.
"One reason I joined the Rotary is because of its motto, 'Service Above Self'," Tony said. "I share the same philosophy."
"Also," he continued, "compared to other cities, I find Downey is a very close-knit community. People seem to know one another."
He met his future wife, Jennifer, at UC Irvine, Tony said. Majoring in economics as well, she is a buyer for an electronic equipment and components manufacturer in Anaheim. The couple resides in Diamond Bar with their 7-year old son and 5-year old daughter.
Tony has been doing his share of duties at the Rotary. In addition to the usual assignments of being a greeter and leading the flag salute, he currently serves on the 10K Night Committee which its planners say just may come up with "something different and special" this year.
Published: June 13, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 09