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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, May 6, 2013, 6:50 am

Banking: Bank of Marin CFO leaves for First Cal; American AgCredit issues largest-ever dividend

Also: Earnings reports from Summit State Bank, AltaPacific Bank

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    Bank of Marin Chief Financial Officer Christina Cook is leaving the bank.

    Eric Gneckow, Business Journal Staff ReporterMs. Cook informed the bank of her resignation on April 22, effective May 10, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ms. Cook is leaving to become CFO of Petaluma-based First California Mortgage Company.

    “Chris decided she wanted to do something different,” said Bank of Marin President and CEO Russ Colombo.

    Bank of Marin has nearly doubled in size since Ms. Cook joined the bank as CFO and executive vice president in August of 2004, growing from $737 million in assets at the end of 2004 to $1.43 billion in assets as of March 31 of this year.

    Chris Cook

    Chris Cook

    She previously served as a vice president and director of financial reporting for Citibank, as well as vice president of corporate planning and financial reporting for Bank of America.

    First California Mortgage Vice Chairman Christopher Hart said in a  statement about Ms. Cook that “the timing could not have been better given our growth plans and market expansion. We are extremely fortunate and excited to add such a tremendous talent and asset to First Cal. Christina brings an accomplished track record and entrepreneurial spirit to our growing and thriving organization.”

    The announcement notes that the 35-year-old First California Mortgage has funded more than $200 billion in residential loans across the United States throughout its history.

    Ms. Cook will oversee accounting, financial planning and reporting for the company, as well as serve on its executive committee, according to the announcement.

    Bank of Marin has enlisted the help of an executive search firm to find a suitable replacement for Ms. Cook, with the hope of finding a successor in the next three months, Mr. Colombo said. However, he cautioned that the bank would take whatever time was necessary to replace the former CFO.

    “A position like this, you obviously want to make the right choice,” he said.

    Ms. Cook has received numerous accolades for her work in the financial industry, including the North Bay Business Journal‘s Women in Business award in 2008.

    ***

    American AgCredit returned the largest dividend in its history to its members in 2012, the agriculture cooperative’s first year of positive loan growth since 2009.

    That dividend, totaling $45 million, effectively reduced the interest rate of borrowers’ loans by 1 percent, according to the Santa Rosa-based lender’s year-end report.

    Loan volume grew 32.5 percent compared to the end of 2011, to $5.8 billion. Part of that increase was due to the acquisition of Colorado-based Farm Credit Services of the Mountain Plains in early 2012, which propelled American AgCredit to its current position as the sixth-largest agriculture lender in the country.

    Costs related to that acquisition lead to a 40 percent decline in net income from the prior year, at $107.3 million. Without those costs, that income would be equivalent to a 15.7 percent increase, according to the report.

    American AgCredit, which reported total assets of $6.2 billion, is building a new headquarters in Santa Rosa, a facility that executives said will serve its plans to expand offerings in crop insurance and other products in the coming years.

    ***

    Citing an increase in income-generating assets and new loans, Summit State Bank (NASDAQ: SSBI) reported a 64 percent increase in net income for the first three months of 2013 and declared a larger quarterly dividend.

    Net income increased by $1 million, or 18 cents per diluted share, from a year before. The institution declared a 11 cent-a-share dividend, to be paid on May 23 to shareholders of record as of May 15, represents a 2 cent-a-share increase.

    The bank announced an 8 percent increase in total assets, now at $438.3 million.

    ***

    AltaPacific Bank’s assets have grown steadily in the year since completing its merger with a Southern California-based bank, ending the first quarter 4.1 percent higher.

    AltaPacific Bancorp (OTCBB: ABNK), parent company of the bank, announced net assets of $221.3 million as of March 31. Net loans were $117 million, up 10.6 percent from the prior year, and deposits increased 3.4 percent to $116 million.

    Submit items for this column to Staff Writer Eric Gneckow at 707-521-4259 or eric.gneckow@busjrnl.com.

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