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Taking his career to the bank

Glendale resident is eager to stay involved after retirement from 60-year career.

July 21, 2010|By Jon Haber, Special to the News-Press

In 1950, 17-year-old Bruce Corbin went looking for a job because he, like most teenagers, needed pocket change. Without having any career in mind, he ventured outside Glendale to Downtown Los Angeles, where he happened to walk into Union Bank and apply for a teller position.

"It was clearly fate," he said.

Corbin got the job and never looked back. He stayed with Union Bank until this month, when, after 60 years of service, Corbin retired as the longest-tenured employee in the company's history. Although Corbin began his career at Union Bank making just $150 per month as a teller, he ended his career as senior vice president of account retention and marketing and became commonly known throughout the company as Mr. Los Angeles.

Corbin retired on July 6, a week after his 60th anniversary with Union Bank, during a ceremony in Downtown Los Angeles. In front of longtime friends, family and employees, Corbin said he couldn't think of a better time to go out at age 77.

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"It makes me feel proud," Corbin said of his retirement. "Basically, it's been a great place to work as the elder statesman of the bank and to represent the bank in Los Angeles."

Although Corbin ended his career at the top of his field, he held many positions along the way and streamlined the bank's charity involvement. Shortly after beginning his teller position in 1950, Corbin decided he wanted to make banking a career. He attended UCLA and earned a degree in finance, all while working nights at the bank in the mailroom.

After serving for the U.S. Army as an infantryman in the Korean War, Corbin returned to the bank and climbed up the company ladder. He went from a teller, where he met his wife JoAnn, to a loan officer and began running the bank's largest business banking office in 1990. Through it all, he said his love for helping others never faded.

"It's a great activity to help people with their financial affairs because it's very important to them and their hearts," he said. "It was such a good feeling I had helping people. I made a lot of people a great deal of money by financing their business over the years."

Corbin, winner of several honors including City of Hope's Spirit of Life Award and UCLA's ICON Award, also took pride in his charitable leadership while chairing Union Bank's funding for donations in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

"It was great to give back to the community of which you live, work and serve," he said.

Although Corbin's time with Union Bank has come to an end, he said he still plans on living in his Glendale home that he bought in 1943 while performing community work in Los Angeles.

"I get a lot of gratification helping charities reach goals and raise funds," he said. "More people should do that, get involved in community activities. It's so very, very important."

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