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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, August 11, 2014, 5:00 am

Business News: Week of Aug. 11, 2014

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    Banking & Finance

    Mechanics Bank, one of Northern California’s largest independent community banks, and Alamo-based RPM Mortgage, one of the industry’s largest independent mortgage originators, with six North Bay branch offices, agreed to have RPM originate mortgages for bank customers from the bank’s 30 branches, including four in Napa Valley. Bank representatives said that this new relationship will involve RPM offering first mortgage loan origination services to the bank. RPM was recently given Standard & Poor’s Rating Services’ high ranking of “Above Average” in all categories as a U.S. residential mortgage originator. The bank also announced new 10- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages starting at 2.99 percent (3.067 percent APR) and 3.375 percent (3.428 percent APR), respectively, that allow homeowners to pay off loans at an accelerated pace.

    Dan Geller, Ph.D., of Marin County-based Behavioral Finance and author of Money Anxiety noted that a fluctuation in the level of worry over retirement mirrors the pattern of his Money Anxiety Index, which reached a low of 57.3 in April 2004 and increased to a high of 96.2 in November 2010. The index average for the past 50 years is 70.7. A Gallup poll released in April shows that 59 percent of Americans are very or moderately worried about not having enough money for their retirement years. The study also shows that money anxiety over retirement was the highest among eight other categories of financial concerns such as ability to pay for medical costs and money to maintain standard of leaving. Money anxiety over retirement varies by age groups. The age group of 30–64 reported the highest level of money anxiety. Among this age group, 70 percent indicated that money anxiety over retirement is their highest financial concern. The second-highest age group was 50–64, with 68 percent of respondents indicating that retirement is their greatest cause of money anxiety. The study shows that the percentage of people with money anxiety over retirement fluctuated in the last decade from a low of 52 percent in 2004 during the last economic boom to a high of 66 percent in 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

    Entertainment

    At the 2014 Sonoma County Fair, Michael Golas Landscape Design of Santa Rosa was awarded the Hall of Flowers Best of Show and Exhibitors Choice awards for its interpretation of the Jefferson Airplane song “White Rabbit.” This year’s theme was inspired by the fair’s overall concept, “Peace, Love & Fair — a Tribute to the ’60s.” Other winners in the Professional Gardens class included Marty and Debbie Thorsson, Best Use of Theme for “Black Magic Woman”; Men’s Garden Club, Best Garden Design and Best Water Feature, “Crimson & Clover”; Landscape Restoration by Dan Pozzi, Best Use of Mums and Best Use of Fuchsias, “Green River”; Edward J. Rogina, Best Use of Hydrangeas, “Red Rubber Ball”; Amanda and Tiffany Thorsson, Best Use of Dahlias, “Purple Haze”; Daniel R. Gibbs, Botanical Artist, Best Use of Azaleas, “Yellow Submarine”; Rebecca Pozzi, Best Use of Begonias, “Scarlett Begonias”; Steven and Jenna Rogina, Best Use of Multi-Flowers, “Blue Bayou”; Paul and Kelly Swanson, Best Use of Yellow, “Goldfinger.”

    Food

    Drakes Bay Oyster Company retail operations closed on July 31. The oyster farm received a last-minute reprieve allowing it to continue harvesting oysters in Drakes Estero, while a lawsuit filed by local restaurants is resolved or 30 days’ notice is given by National Park Service.

    Nonprofits

    Wells Fargo, Autodesk, Bank of Marin, W. Bradley Electric and Summit State Bank were named among the top 75 corporate philanthropists in the Bay Area by San Francisco Business Times. Wells Fargo was ranked the No. 1 corporate cash-giver in the Bay Area, philanthropically investing $23.22 million in local schools and nonprofits in 2013. Each year, Summit State Bank donates more than 2 percent of its net profit to support local nonprofits and charitable organizations in the community including the American Heart Association, Becoming Independent, Blood Bank of the Redwoods, Friends House, Healdsburg Animal Shelter, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Levi Leipheimer’s GranFondo, Pacific Coast Air Museum and Schools Plus.

    Wine

    Wine Country Trucks Publishing recently released the book Wine Country Trucks of Napa & Sonoma Counties (winecountrytrucks.com) by Napa resident and photographer Lisa A. Harris. Over the past year, Ms. Harris has printed more than 150 photos of 60 classic trucks from Napa and Sonoma counties, interviewed their owners. Featured trucks include those at Bouchaine Vineyards (BV), Laird Family Estate Winery, Reynolds Family Winery, Robinson Family Vineyards and Regusci Winery.

    NakedWines.com, a privately funded online wine company and consumer crowdfunder of winemakers with operations in Napa and Sonoma counties, rolled out a same-day delivery service for wine orders from San Francisco. Orders submitted by 1 p.m. Monday–Friday can be delivered the same day. The company’s angel investors contribute $40 per month, spending it on the wine of choice. The company then uses contributions to fund independent winemakers as they develop top-quality wines under their own labels. In return, angels get exclusive access and preferential pricing — 40 percent–60 percent off.

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