LA JOLLA-A Las Vegas-based commercial lender has expanded into the Southern California market by opening an office here.

Vestin Capital Inc., a subsidiary of Vestin Group, opened an office on Friday at 1200 Prospect St., Suite 150. The firm also recently opened an office in Phoenix.

“Southern California represents an unparalleled opportunity in real estate-related investments,” says Mike Shustek, Vestin’s CEO. “We are looking forward to expanding our California presence and our investment opportunities for our clients.”

Vestin’s local office will be managed by Donovan Jacobs, an attorney, 20-year veteran of the real estate industry and a licensed mortgage broker. Jacobs and Shustek have co-authored a book, Trust Deed Investments.Currently, the office employs three people and offers trust-deed investment opportunities. Vestin Group is a publicly held company providing financial services throughout the United States.

In the past, Vestin’s principal business has been originating short-term loans to private investors secured by real estate, primarily for commercial and residential development. The company is now diversifying to offer other services, including financial consulting, corporate finance, Internet financial services, insurance and investment.

Vestin, through the company’s lending division, is one of the nation’s largest lenders of private funds. Its largest subsidiary, VestinMortgage, has facilitated more than $500 million in lending transactions over the last three years, without the loss of principal or interest to any of its 4,500 investors.

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