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H. Robert Heller
Professor, UH-Manoa Economics, 1970-1974

Epic Bancorp Announces New Director Appointment

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- The Board of Directors of Epic Bancorp ("the Company") (Nasdaq:EPIK), announces the appointment of H. Robert Heller, Ph.D., age 65, to the position of Director of Epic Bancorp and its wholly owned subsidiary, Epic Wealth Management, in March 2005.

"We are delighted to have such a highly regarded, knowledgeable and nationally known economist as Dr. Heller join the Company and look forward to having his valuable input and insight about the governance and expansion of the Company," commented Kit Cole, the CEO/Chairman of the Board of Epic Bancorp.

Dr. Heller obtained his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1965. He was a professor of economics at UCLA and the University of Hawaii prior to becoming Chief of Financial Studies Division of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. in 1974. In 1978 Dr. Heller became Senior Vice President and Director of International Economic Research at Bank of America in San Francisco. In 1986 Dr. Heller was appointed by President Reagan to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Returning to the private sector in 1989, Dr. Heller joined VISA and subsequently was elected as President and CEO of VISA USA. Dr. Heller has served as a Director of the Fair Isaac Corporation and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Haydrian Corporation, Sonic Automotive, Inc. and the Eton Corporation.

Dr. Heller has published seven books and over 100 articles on economics, finance and business. He is also an active civic leader in Marin County, where he serves on the Board of Directors of the Romberg Center of California State University and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Marin General Hospital.

Former Fed Governor and University of Hawaii-Manoa Economics Professor Named Visa U.S.A. President

From the New York Times, February 27, 1991

How is the Visa credit-card system like the Federal Reserve? H. Robert Heller, who knows both institutions, says they have a lot in common.

Yesterday, Mr. Heller, 51, was named president of Visa U.S.A. Inc., one of five regional units of Visa International. Since 1989, he has been executive vice president of Visa International and before that was a Fed governor in Washington.

Mr. Heller takes a post that is being relinquished by Charles T. Russell, 61, who will continue as chief executive of Visa U.S.A. Mr. Russell is also president and chief executive of Visa International, the parent organization.

"In a way, there are a lot of similarities between Visa and the Fed," Mr. Heller said yesterday. "Both are headquarters of a large associaton of banks and financial institutions. Visa in the U.S. alone has 19,500 institutions, while the Fed has 6,000 or 7,000 banks that it supervises directly."

Another similarity, he said, is that the Fed and Visa run large-scale payment systems, Visa with credit payments from consumers and the Fed with its interbank payment system and its check-clearing operations.

"We're competitive with the Fed, also," Mr. Heller noted. "Our purpose it to try to replace the check with plastic."

Mr. Heller joined the Fed in 1986 and left in 1989 with six years to go on his term, indicating at the time that he needed a doubling or tripling of his $82,500 Fed salary. Mr. Heller said he had not regretted the decision.

The Persian Gulf war, he said, has had little effect on Visa business. "When the war broke out," he said, "there was a sharp drop in the growth rate, and it went down for the next four or five days. But then people got tired of sitting at home and went out to catch up. So it looked like a big valley at first and then sort of a mountain."

Before joining the Fed, Mr. Heller spent eight years at the Bank of America, where he was director of international economics. The bank, incidentally, once owned Visa, which is now owned by its member banks in proportion to the business they generate.

Mr. Heller was born in Cologne, Germany. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. He taught at several institutions, including the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Hawaii before joining the International Monetary Fund, where he worked from 1974 to 1978, moving on to the Bank of America.

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