Hennessy Advisors, the Novato-based investment advising firm, continues growth with the acquisition of assets of two Sparx Japan funds, which have roughly $65 million in assets.

Hennessy Advisors will manage Sparx Japan Fund and Sparx Japan Smaller Companies Fund when the transaction is complete. "We look forward to welcoming the Sparx shareholders and the Sparx asset management team to the Hennessy Funds Series family, and we are thrilled to begin offering our first  international mutual fund," said Neil Hennessy, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Hennessy Advisors.

Hennessy Advisors Inc. is a publicly traded company. The company reported total assets under management to be $699 million as of March 31.


Summit State Bank is opening a branch in Healdsburg July 13 in the Vine Street shopping center.

"We are thrilled about opening our new branch in Healdsburg. We are proud to support local Healdsburg businesses, which accounted for 80 percent of the 18 subcontractors we used to build our branch," said Tom Duryea, president and CEO of the bank.

There will be four employees in the Healdsburg branch.


Bank of Marin is set to open its Greenbrae branch Sept. 1 of this year.

"Opening a Bank of Marin branch in Greenbrae will fill out our footprint in a market we have long wanted tHennessy Funds o serve.  This strategy has been in development for several years, and we are thrilled to see it come to fruition," said Peter Pelham, branch executive.

This will bring Bank of Marin's total number of branches to 13. There will be 10 employees in Greenbrae.


American AgCredit, based in Santa Rosa, has plans in the works to merge with Witchita, Kan.-based Farm Credit of the Heartland.

According to a note in American Ag Credit's financial statement, issued to stockholders in April of this year, the board of directors signed a letter of intent in March to merge with Farm Credit of the Heartland.

According to the letter, the new association will be headquartered in Santa Rosa and will be called American AgCredit.

Both banks are performing due diligence, and a tentative date is set for Dec. 1 of this year.

According to Farm Credit of the Heartland's financial statements, both associations are now in the process of obtaining the necessary approvals from their funding bank, U.S. AgBank, their regulator, the Farm Credit Administration and their stockholders, to allow completion of the merger.

Ron Carli, CEO of American AgCredit, said the organizations are just waiting on the Farm Credit administration to give preliminary approval so ballots can be sent to stockholders for a vote.

"We have gone through numerous mergers," said Mr. Carli, who has been in his position for more than 27 years.

"We cover 38 counties in California and the whole state of Nevada. I believe we are the only merger in the system right now.

"This will be a good thing for stockholders on both sides," he said.

At the end of the first quarter, American AgCredit total assets were $3.9 billion, up from $3.3 billion at the end of the same quarter in 2008.

At the end of the first quarter, Farm Credit of the Heartland reported total assets of $976.4 million, down from $1 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008.


Tamalpais Bank joined the North Bay Leadership Council.

"Joining NBLC is in alignment with our commitment to strong relationships with the communities we serve and our dedication to help the community be a prosperous, welcoming place to work and live," said Mark Garwood, chairman and CEO of Tamalpais Bank. Mr. Garwood serves as chairman of the Marin Workforce Housing Trust Board of Directors and was a founding organizer of the Major Employer Housing Group.

"Tamalpais Bank is one of the leading financial institutions in the North Bay," said Pat Kendall, chair of the council. "We are excited to have them join NBLC because of the caliber of the company and their first class reputation as an employer and community leader."

North Bay Leadership Council is made up of the region's largest employers committed to sustaining the economy and community.


Union Bank, N.A. has hired 25-year financial industry veteran Jim Giordano as vice president and business development officer.

Mr. Giordano will be responsible for relationship development with mid-sized companies in the San Francisco-based bank's Northern California Middle Market Group.

Prior to joining Union Bank, Mr. Giordano worked for Bank of America Business Capital, LaSalle Business Credit, Guaranty Business Credit and Finova Capital Corp.

With these companies he provided asset-based and cash flow lending solutions to private and public middle market companies.


Sonoma Bank promoted Aleia Coate, assistant vice president, from branch manager to community manager at its Sebastopol branch. Ms. Coate will continue to manage the Sebastopol branch and oversee the east Petaluma branch located inside G&G Market as well as the west Petaluma branch.


Melody Cronbach joined Charter Oak Bank's Napa office as vice president and central operations manager. Prior to joining Charter Oak Bank, Ms. Cronbach was with Pacific Valley Bank in Salinas as vice president and central operations manager.


Exchange Bank in Santa Rosa named Steven Jenkins to senior vice president and manager of wealth management. He has 30 years of banking experience and has worked for Exchange Bank for six years.

Submit items for this column to Jenna V. Loceff at jloceff@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4259 or fax 707-521-5292.