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City National Bank: Reaching for the stars

Return to UBS tops private banking poll

City National Bank

In 1963, Frank Sinatra's 19-year-old son, Frank Junior, was kidnapped at gunpoint from a motel. The kidnappers were paid a $240,000 ransom, which City National Bank provided. Sinatra's son was released after two days, the kidnappers were caught and the money was recovered, but the incident enhanced City National's reputation as banker to the stars.

The bank was established 50 years ago in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, specifically to serve the entertainment and real estate industries. It was founded by Columbia Pictures board member Al Hart, and brought in entertainment clients from the start.

Today, City National is the second-largest independent bank headquartered in California. It provides private-banking services such as asset management, personal trust administration, personal custody service and estate and financial planning. Many of its clients are business managers to entertainers.

“We provide personal cash management and custody services, for example, so that business managers can go online and look at their client's accounts,” says Martha Henderson, executive vice-president and manager of the bank's entertainment division (pictured) which, outside the private banking sphere, also offers specialist services such as film finance.

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