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Bank lays off 26 as part of realignment

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By Tris DeRoma

Los Alamos National Bank CEO John Gulas said the 26 layoffs announced last week were part of the bank’s overall plan for continued financial stability.
“The biggest goal was to make sure we have a sustainable organization,” Gulas said.
The layoffs extended throughout the organization, with customer service being the least affected, and all six of LANB’s branches remain open.
Gulas could not provide an exact figure of how many of those workers worked at the White Rock branch and the main headquarters in Los Alamos, but said due to the fact that the bank’s headquarters were in Los Alamos County, “It would probably be more in Los Alamos County because this is our biggest office.”
Each worker received severance payment and aid in finding employment.
Earlier this year, Gulas also eliminated may positions through attrition. Those included the chief operating officer position and the chief wealth officer position.
“We were very cautious when we were hiring to make sure we were taking this target into consideration. We used a lot of attrition to get where we needed to be,” Gulas said.
The layoffs marked the last step in a three-step plan the bank created to get its finances in order and improve customer service. The steps included reigning in data processing costs, cutting professional fees and finally, staffing.
“We did a study and our expenses were 30-40 percent out of line. We wanted to fix that. We looked at everything we could,” Gulas said.
The bank’s road to recovery actually started in 2015 after it agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle claims of accounting fraud that the SEC said occurred between 2009 and 2012 under LANB CEO William Enloe.
Enloe stepped down from that position in 2013. Gulas became CEO in 2014.
The bank started officially on its plan in late 2014 with plans for a new online banking system. The system went online in July 2016.
The bank also cancelled many contracts it no longer had use for, preferring to pay the contract’s exit fees rather than continue to the end of those contracts.
In December 2016, the parent company of LANB, Trinity Capital Corporation, raised $52 million in capital by selling 2,661,239 shares of common stock at $4.75 per share and 82,862 shares of its Series C preferred stock at $475 per share. Much of that was used to reorganize its finances through recapitalization.
“We believe that the closing of this investment opens a new chapter for the company,” Gulas said in a written statement about the capitalization. “We now expect to focus less and less on yesterday’s issues and, instead, we can implement a strategic plan that provides for realizing opportunities for growth.”
Customers may see changes to some of the services the bank has offered in the past.
One change Gulas could mention had to do with the bank’s credit cards.
“For the most part the one area I can mention is our credit card product. We haven’t been issuing new credit cards, we’ve been only issuing replacement cards for some time now,” Gulas said. “As soon as we enter the new contract our credit card will go to a new credit card partner and it will be a much better credit card product than we’ve had in the past.”
Gulas also said no more layoffs are expected.
“We’re done. We are not planning any more layoffs. We have done everything we needed to do,” he said.