Southern California’s Inland Empire, a suburban sprawl to the east of Los Angeles, has been among the hardest hit by the real estate crisis.   All the while, the largest bank based in the region, CVB Financial Corp., has survived even as rivals perished. But CVB’s exposure to commercial real estate in the area could still cause problems for the lender. California loan modifications and California Short Sales continue to play a dominant role in state real estate transactions, but now they are affecting the commercial market place.

During a December presentation for CVB’s investors, Chief Executive Christopher Myers described a bleak commercial property market in Ontario, a city in the heart of the Inland Empire and the site of CVB’s headquarters.  “You go up our street — there are 10 buildings of 50,000 to 150,000 square feet with 75% vacancy,” Myers said of the town’s main artery, Haven Avenue, according to a transcript of the presentation. “We have zero loans against those 10 buildings.”   However, an office building at 800 N. Haven Ave. in Ontario was part of collateral for a $16.575 million revolving line of credit that Citizens Business Bank, the banking unit of CVB, extended in March 2008, according to the deed of trust. In August of that year, the property partly secured a $16 million promissory note issued by the bank, another deed of trust shows.  > Read the entire California Real Estate Article.