Less than two weeks after announcing he was stepping down as chairman of Montecito Bank & Trust to retire, bank founder and owner Michael Towbes has died.
He died early Thursday morning, April 13, said a spokesman for the Towbes Group, his real estate investment, development and property management company.
Towbes outlined his plan for continued operation of his bank, which has a branch in Solvang, in an April 3 announcement.
Prominent as a real estate developer and philanthropist as well as a banker, Towbes moved from Los Angeles to Santa Maria to get involved in the booming Central Coast development.
Later he moved to Montecito and founded Montecito Bank & Trust in 1975.
He also started the Towbes Group, which eventually developed some 6,000 residential units and more than 1.8 million square feet of commercial and industrial properties.
As a philanthropist, he launched the Towbes Foundation to support medical research, education and the arts.