News & Events
FCB Holiday Donations
For a second year in a row, First Choice Bank was pleased to sponsor several families-in-need as part of the 2017 Family Holiday Drive by Aviva Family and Children’s Services, a non-profit organization serving Los Angeles-area children and families in crisis. A total of eight families were “adopted” by the Bank to receive not only holiday gifts but also much-needed living essentials. We are proud to have been able to help these families and make a positive impact on their lives when they needed it most. In addition, FCB partnered in December with the Marine Toys for Tots Program, now four years running, to collect and distribute toys for less fortunate children in our community during the holiday season. We are humbled by the generosity displayed by Bank employees and directors for this cause- more than four huge boxes of toys were collected! We are grateful for the ongoing support provided by the Bank and its employees and directors for these and other very worthy organizations.
Financial Literacy with First Choice Bank and Junior Achievement
As part of its ongoing partnership with Junior Achievement of Southern California, First Choice Bank participated in a financial literacy event in December at the JA Finance Park in Los Angeles. The day’s activities included students from LA Job Corp and Crenshaw High School learning money management skills in a real-life setting of storefronts, financial institutions and other businesses. Bank employees helped the students create a monthly budget, including typical housing, food and insurance expenses, and answered questions the students had about “costs of living” issues. Our FCB volunteers were excited to be a part of creating a strong financial foundation for these young adults.
First Choice Bank’s 7th Annual Charity Golf Tournament
First Choice Bank is proud to announce that its 7th Annual Charity Tournament on October 26, 2017, was the most successful one yet! A record-high $102,800 was donated to eighteen local charities, with $51,400 given by the Bank and an additional $51,400 matched by the Much is Given Foundation. The event also spotlighted the Bank’s “Citizen of the Year” for 2017, with the award presented to Richard Simonian, CEO of Santiago Communities and a veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces Green Berets, for his efforts in helping other veterans. Mr. Simonian created the non-profit organization American Veterans Assistance Group (AVAG), which has been instrumental in assisting veterans with affordable housing, holiday meals, informational workshops about veteran benefits and other outreach programs. Mr. Simonian’s dedication to help those who have sacrificed for our country is truly inspirational.
Each year, the success of this event is dependent on the generosity of the sponsors and participants, and this year was no exception. First Choice Bank is so grateful for all who contributed and offers a special thanks to Kathryn Leu for organizing the day’s activities. If you weren’t able to make it out this time, please plan to join us at next year’s tournament to support many worthy charities and also have some fun!
Habitat of Humanity
On Saturday July 8, 2017 twenty six First Choice Bank employees and family members participated in Habitat for Humanity event to help break ground at the latest Veteran build in Chino Hills location. The home will be made available to a disabled U.S. Veteran family through Habitat for Humanity.
Junior Achievement - JA Day
On June 13, 2017 FCB taught 5 classes at Monte Vista Elementary, totaling 146 3rd and 4th graders and provided financial literacy using the Junior Achievement financial curriculum program. Junior Achievement of Orange County is a non-profit organization that JA Our City introduces students to the basics of financial literacy, the characteristics of cities, and how people and businesses in cities manage their money.
Stacey Middle School, Huntington Beach-Mock Interviews
On June 9, 2017, for the third year in a row, employees of First Choice Bank, along with other community volunteers, participated in Stacey Middle School’s Eighth Grade Exit Portfolio Interview. Students demonstrated what they have learned throughout the school year by presenting their portfolios to an interviewer. The portfolios contain essay, artifacts from their curriculum, resume, and future goals. First Choice Bank was delighted to have participated in these students’ educational experience.
First Choice Bank Scholarship Program
Identifying scholastically talented youth and bring them to the attention of their peers is one of the goals of the First Choice Bank Scholarship Program. In partnership with Alhambra Unified School District and ABC Unified School District, First Choice Bank was able to provide scholarships to graduating high school students that are economically-disadvantaged and demonstrated academic excellence. This year, ten outstanding students were honored and received a total of $10,000 in scholarship funds. FCB believes that the most impactful way to give back to our community is to inspire our next generation to thrive in their education.
Everfi Financial Literacy Program-Student Engagement activity
On May 3, 2017 six First Choice Bank employees volunteered to provide financial literacy education, jointly with EverFi, at Anaheim High School in Anaheim. FCB employees spent the day visiting three class periods and played financial literacy as well as shared their financial expertise and life experiences with the students. The total number of students that FCB employee reached out during this event was over 100 students.
Junior Achievement of Southern California
First Choice Bank is proud to continue partnership with Junior Achievement. On February 24, 2017, five employees volunteered at Junior Achievement Finance Park in Los Angeles, where students participated in a real-world personal finance simulation, including budgeting for housing, transportation and other usual monthly expenses. Our FCB volunteers were on hand throughout the day to answer questions and share their knowledge and experience with the students.
For a third year in a row, First Choice Bank partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Program to collect and distribute toys for the holiday season to less fortunate children in our community. We’re proud to say that three huge boxes of toys were donated by Bank employees and directors in support of the program! As well, for the first time, the Bank participated in the Sponsor Family Holiday Drive organized by Aviva Family & Children’s Services, a non-profit organization serving Los Angeles children and families in crisis. With the help of Bank employees and directors, we were able to sponsor ten local families struggling not only with holiday gifts, but also with basic necessities and making ends meet. We are grateful for the support provided by the FCB team to area families in need and are thankful to have had the opportunity to make such an impact on the lives of others.
Financial Literacy Events
The Bank is proud to have participated in two financial literacy events in November and December at the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Los Angeles. The events gave area high school students the opportunity to navigate the world of personal finances as they assumed the role of an “adult for the day,” creating a balanced monthly budget while making decisions about housing, transportation, insurance, savings and other typical expenses. Our FCB volunteers spent the day with the students providing guidance and answering questions the students had about real-world financial situations. We are excited to have been able to help these students prepare for their financial futures.
6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament
First Choice Bank is proud to announce a record high donation amount from its 6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament. The tournament was held at the Industry Hills Golf Club in The City of Industry on October 27, 2016. The Bank’s total donation amount of $45,600 was matched by the Much is Given Foundation. Thanks to the Foundation’s generosity, this year’s contribution to the 18-selected organizations will total $91,200.
The Bank presented this year’s Citizen of the Year award to Liferay, Inc. for its ongoing commitment to helping others. Liferay, Inc. offers an Employee Volunteer Program (EVP) that grants each of their employees 40 hours per year to serve with non-profit organizations of their choice. Through their EVP program, over 190 non-profit organizations have been served, and over 13,500 hours have been completed. Their community outreach program inspires all of us to continue working to support our community.
Guest Speaker – Youth Business Alliance
On September 29, 2016, First Choice Bank employee Helen Lau, VP Assistant Compliance Officer volunteered as a guest speaker at Alliance Patti & Peter Neuwirth Leadership Academy, to provide career and financial literacy education. This CRA opportunity was made possible through a non-profit organization called Youth Business Alliance, where part of their program is to connect today’s youth with business professionals.
EverFi Financial Literacy Program – Student Engagement Activity
On September 20, 2016, eight (8) First Choice Bank employees volunteered to provide financial literacy education, jointly with EverFi, at Franklin High School in Highland Park. The objective of the event was to provide the employees’ financial expertise by connecting with students from the class of Regional Occupational Program (ROP) for Small Business Owner/Management. FCB employees spent the day visiting six (6) classes and shared their expertise and life experiences with the students and answered financial questions. The total number of students that FCB employee reached out during this event was over 100 students.
Los Angeles Saves Campaign
On July 27, 2016, First Choice Bank participated in an event for the America Saves Campaign in Los Angeles. The campaign, launched in 2015, seeks to motivate, encourage and support low- to moderate-income families to save money, reduce debt and build wealth. The event was held at the Magnolia Place Family Center and Children’s Bureau and included over twenty pledges by individuals and families to choose a goal and begin a savings plan. First Choice Bank was pleased to be a part of this very valuable program.
Stacey Middle School Eighth Grade Exit Interview
For the second year in a row, First Choice Bank participated in Stacey Middle School’s Eighth Grade Exit Portfolio Interview. The Interview provides a tool for each student to reflect and assess their academic growth throughout their middle school experience. It is also an opportunity for the students to experience a formal interview which helps prepare them for the real world. On June 3, 2016, employees of First Choice Bank, along with other community volunteers, participated in this special program as the interviewers for this group of eighth graders. Students demonstrated what they have learned by presenting their portfolios to an interviewer. The portfolios contained an essay, artifacts from their curriculum, a resume, and a list of future goals. First Choice Bank was delighted to have participated in these students’ educational experience.
Blind Children’s Learning Center- Visit to First Choice Bank
As a prominent supporter of the Blind Children’s Learning Center (BCLC), First Choice Bank was excited to welcome BCLC to our Anaheim office on May 24, 2016. A small group of children along with their guardian received a tour of the Bank and met with some of our staff members. We were thrilled to show them the office and what we do in the bank. Each child received a coin pillow at the end of the tour. A special thanks to BCLC for providing this opportunity for FCB to interact with the children and help engage them in a new environment.
First Choice Bank Rockin’ for the Homeless
Los Angeles city and county have the most chronically homeless people in the country, and nearly all of them sleep on the streets. A recent report shows that the homeless population in Los Angeles is on the rise to more than 44,000. While the issue remains debatable in the political and social medium, organizations such as Union Station Homeless Services (USHS) have been leading the way to provide solutions to the homeless population. Their vision is that every person deserves a life of dignity and a safe place to call home. On May 14, 2016, Union Station’s Young Leaders Society organized the 2nd Annual Rockin’ for the Homeless 5K Run/Walk event to benefit USHS. A group of employees and directors of First Choice Bank, along with their family members, volunteered at the event, supporting the cause by providing assistance to both sponsors and participants. As a local community bank, we embrace our role in promoting economic development. This USHS event served as another opportunity for First Choice Bank to give back and stand behind the efforts that support the low and moderate income communities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.
First Choice Bank Receives Financial Education Innovation Award
First Choice Bank was honored at the 2nd Annual Innovation in Financial Education Awards presented by Nasdaq and EverFi. The award recognizes FCB’s significant efforts to improve the financial capability of young Americans through unique digital learning initiatives. Thirty-five institutions were honored with this distinction at a ceremony hosted on April 6, 2016 at Nasdaq Marketsite in New York City. As an honoree, FCB was selected based on a set of criteria that included the scale and reach of our financial education initiatives, the duration of our commitment, and unique employee volunteering activities that supplement our programs. Two members of FCB, Jae Park and Linda Willis, were at the ceremony and accepted the award on the Bank’s behalf.
Sri Lankan Youth Organization Women’s Empowerment Conference
The Sri Lankan Youth Organization (SLYO) was created to positively impact the lives of Sri Lankan youth living within the American and global cultures. The organization provides a platform of cultural and moral unity where the youths can strengthen their professional and personal networks. In honor of the accomplishments of women over the decades and in light of the issues women have to deal with still, SLYO held a women’s empowerment conference on March 26, 2016, in El Segundo, CA. First Choice Bank’s Chief Banking Officer Nicole Swain was honored to be a key note speaker at the conference and discussed matters related to her career in finance and women’s empowerment and to connect with the other wonderful women in SLYO community.
Blind Children’s Learning Center
A child learns how to interact with others through seeing and by modeling others. Children with visual impairments, however, may require social skills training due to their inability to rely on visual cues. At Blind Children’s Learning Center (BCLC), it is their mission to prepare children with visual impairments for a life of independence through early intervention, education, and family support. On February 23, 2016, a group of First Choice Bank dedicated members, volunteered their time to help BCLC fulfill their mission by interacting with the children. It was a pleasure to engage in activities such as explaining the concept of money, sorting currency by touch, “buying” pizza with the currency on hand, and most importantly, encouraging the children to interact with strangers to enhance their social skills for future independence. It was a humbling experience and we thank BCLC for giving us the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. BCLC is located in Santa Ana and service visual impaired children and teens throughout Orange County.
Annual Charity Golf Tournament
First Choice Bank held its Fifth Annual Golf Tournament at the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort on October 22, 2015. This year’s donation reached a record high for this annual event for the bank since its inception in August 2005. With the generous dollar-for-dollar match from organization Much is Given, $56,000.00 was raised in support and recognition of 18 non-profit organizations in our local communities. Citizen of the Year award was presented at the dinner reception to recognize an outstanding citizen who has exemplified the values of volunteerism and philanthropy. First Choice Bank had the privilege to present this year’s Citizen of the Year award to Mr. Thomas Hom
EverFi Financial Literacy Program – Student Engagement Activity
To celebrate First Choice Bank’s continued partnership with EverFi Financial Literacy Program, a group of FCB employees volunteered their time in EverFi’s student engagement activity on November 18, 2015. The goal of the event was to connect Anaheim High School students to First Choice Bank volunteer expertise through an intimate classroom engagement activity. Employees spent the day in visiting four classes and answering student questions about their financial futures. It was a delight to work with the students and an honor to be a partner of EverFi as their Financial Literacy Program continue to reach hundreds of public high school students in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Stacey Middle School Eighth Grade Exit Interview
At Stacey Middle School in the Westminster School District, the Eighth Grade Exit Portfolio Interview provides a tool for each student to reflect and assess their academic growth throughout their middle school experience. It is also an opportunity for the students to experience a formal interview which helps prepare them for the real world. On June 5, 2015, employees of First Choice Bank, along with other community volunteers, participated in this special program as the interviewers for this group of eighth graders. Students demonstrated what they have learned by presenting their portfolios to an interviewer. The portfolios contain essay, artifacts from their curriculum, resume, and future goals. First Choice Bank was delighted to have participated in these students’ educational experience.
Blind Children's Learning Center 11th Annual 5k Walk
To prepare children with visual impairments for a life of independence through early intervention, education, and family support, Blind Children’s Learning Center has been a vital organization for this group of children and their parents for over 50 years. To show our support to this amazing organization, on May 16, 2015, employees of First Choice Bank participated in their annual 5k walk and contributed more than $2,000 for the cause. We applaud Blind Children’s Learning Center for their dedication and wish them continued success in their support of children in need.
SBA Community Workshop - How to Make Your Business Bankable
On April 29, 2015, First Choice Bank collaborated with U.S. Small Business Administration and City of Huntington Beach in providing a free workshop for a local community on the specifics of SBA loan programs. The workshop provided small business owners with the tools and information that they will need for a successful loan application.
Habitat for Humanity
On Saturday March 21st First Choice Bank participated in Southern California Edison and Habitat for Humanity's partnership to build a completely green LEED certified home. The home will be made available to a disabled U.S. Veteran family through Habitat for Humanity on a lot donated by the City of Walnut.
EverFi Financial Literacy Program
EverFi., Inc. is the leading education technology company focused on teaching, assessing, and certifying K-12 and college students in the critical skills they need for life. First Choice Bank had the honor in sponsoring an on-going financial literacy program for EverFi that allows schools to have the most innovative technology and curricula at no cost to its students. We are delighted to learn that as of January 2015, the sponsored program has reached nearly 400 students in public high school in Los Angeles and Orange County.
On May 15, 2015, First Choice Bank had the honor to take part in EverFi certification ceremony held at Pasadena High School. CEO Robert Franko, along with other members of the Bank, were on site to congratulate the students on their achievement and present them with a certificate of completion.
WE Connect Health & Resource Fair
First Choice Bank had the pleasure in participating in WE Connect Health and Resource Fair on November 15, 2014. Nearly 600 Long Beach residents attended this free event where they accessed various resources including health coverage renewal and enrollment support, medical services, financial advising and a healthy grocery giveaway.
Annual Charity Golf Tournament
First Choice Bank held its Fourth Annual Golf Tournament at the Black Gold Golf Course in Yorba Linda on October 9, 2014. This year’s donation was a record high for this annual event for the bank since its inception in August 2005. More than $25,000.00 was raised in support and recognition of 18 non-profit organizations in our local communities. Also, for the first time, a Citizen of the Year award was presented at the dinner reception to recognize an outstanding citizen who has exemplified the values of volunteerism and philanthropy.
Senior Crimestoppers Program
To assist seniors in nursing homes and subsidized housing who are vulnerable to abuse and financial exploitation, First Choice Bank provided a grant to Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation to tackle these issues by supporting various preventive programs offer to low-income seniors at no cost. On August 18, 2014, First Choice Bank President Mr. Franko and Chairman Mr. Hui visited Norwalk Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre to greet the senior residents and to present the grant to the Nursing Center.
OC Food Bank
On Saturday, June 7, 2014, First Choice Bank staff, families, friends and directors came together to support the Orange County Regional Food Bank. Employees, directors, family and friends helped in assembling food baskets for low income families and seniors in Orange County and surrounding areas.
Habitat for Humanity - Brush with Kindness
First Choice Bank staff, family, and friends joined San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity on Saturday May 17, 2014 to assist with Habitat's program Brush with Kindness. Brush with Kindness is an exterior home service that offers painting, landscaping and minor repair services to existing homes.
Investing in Working Families Financial Workshop
The month of April is nationally recognized as Financial Literacy Month. During that month in 2014, The City of LA’s ongoing “Investing in Working Families” campaign provided access for families to learn how to save money to achieve financial security. First Choice Bank representatives were delighted to be at various outreach locations to support this important campaign by providing information on Savings account and Identity Theft Prevention along with other financial resources in Money Management.
SBA Community Workshop
On March 19, 2014, First Choice Bank provided a workshop for a local community on the specifics of SBA loan programs. The workshop provided small business owners with the tools and information that they will need for a successful loan application.
Asian Small Business Expo
As a sponsor of the Asian Small Business Expo, that was held on September 21, 2013, First Choice Bank's Small Business Administration Department (SBA) representatives and Alhambra Branch Manager were able to connect with various small businesses in the community and provided information about bank products and services.
Annual Backpacks for Kids and Teach Children to Save Program
On August 29 and 30, First Choice Bank distributed 100 backpacks with school supplies and "Saving Money Tips" flyers to children from low income families in the ABC Unified School District. Carver Elementary, Kennedy Elementary, Bragg Elementary and Elliott Elementary Schools participated in this program.
Habitat for Humanity
First Choice Bank partnered with Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, August 3, 2013. Volunteers including First Choice Bank staff, families, friends and directors were in Rancho Cucamonga, CA working hard to clean, landscape, paint and lay tile. Everyone worked hard to help turn the house into a home for the Garcia family. Thank you to all those who were involved in making the Garcia's dream of owning a home into a reality.
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
On Saturday, May 4, 2013, First Choice Bank staff, families, friends and directors came together to support the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. This is the fourth year First Choice Bank has organized a volunteer day for the Food Bank where volunteers assembled food packages that will benefit children at local schools as well as senior citizens in the local community.
The Arc Walk for Independence
For the third year in a row, First Choice Bank proudly sponsored the ARC Walk for Independence on March 23, 2013. The ARC Walk is an annual fundraising event for the ARC Los Angeles and Orange Counties and raises community awareness and funds to support children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To learn more about the ARC, visit www.arcwalk.org