With its recent acquisition of Marin's financially troubled Tamalpais Bank, San Francisco-based Union Bank will increase its North Bay branches from three to 11.

“Our plan is to keep all seven branches open,” Tim Wennes, Union Bank vice chairman and chief retail banking officer, said of the former Tamalpais locations. “We think the North Bay is a very attractive market and wanted to have a stronger presence in it.”

Union Bank previously had three North Bay branches, one in Kentfield, one in San Rafael and one in Petaluma. Next month, a branch will open in Sonoma. With the seven branches from Tamalpais, Union will have 11 in the North Bay. There are no branches in Napa, but Union Bank has a business office in St. Helena that serves the wine industry.

In the fourth quarter, the bank will open branch in Mill Valley.

Other than the Tamalpais acquisition, Union Bank, with 346 branches in California, Oregon and Washington, has had only organic growth.

“We have been actively seeking growth opportunities, but we are strategic,” Mr. Wennes said.

Mr. Wennes said the bank plans to increase its business banking activities and add a mortgage program in specialized jumbo mortgages.

Pierre Habis, a Union senior executive vice president and head of branch banking, said the bank is attempting to retain as many Tamalpais employees that want to stay.

Mark Garwood, formerly the CEO of Tamalpais Bank, is the only employee to date that is not with Union Bank, said Mr. Wennes.

In addition to staff retention, Union Bank is continuing in the tradition of Tamalpais Bank in terms of community involvement.

“Union Bank is pretty big on community involvement,” Mr. Habis said. “We are going to continue to be the presenting sponsor of the Heart of Marin awards.”

Union Bank also has a program where employees can choose an organization to volunteer at during work hours.

“And we pay them,” Mr. Habis said.

Depositors of Tamalpais Bank all automatically became depositors of Union Bank on April 16 and continue to be insured by the FDIC.


Sonoma Bank parent company Sterling Financial Corp. in Spokane, Wash., announced a capital infusion of $134.7 million from a private-equity firm, helping Sterling meet the requirements of a federal regulatory order in October of last year.

The letter agreement is with Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Partners. In March, federal officials said Sterling would have to raise $650 million.

According to the document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, “THL’s investment and the U.S. Treasury transaction … would be conditioned upon each other and on other closing conditions, including Sterling raising a total of at least $720 million (inclusive of the THL investment), which will enable it to meet all of its regulatory capital requirements.”

Under the terms of agreement, THL Managing Director Scott Jaeckel will join the Sterling board of directors.

Sterling President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Seibly said, “We are extremely pleased to be partnering with THL on our recapitalization efforts. THL has a long and successful track record of investing across the financial services landscape. Additionally, we appreciate the continued support of the Treasury as the exchange transaction is a critical component of the overall plan to improve our capital position.”

First-quarter financial results were reported along with the recapitalization plan. A net loss of $88.8 million was reported including provision for losses of $88.6 million.

Total assets are $10.6 billion, down from $12.8 billion reported in the same quarter of last year. Deposits for the quarter totaled $7.6 billion, down from $8.5 billion reported last year. Loans are $542.2 million, down from $970.5 million in 2009.

In the Northern California market, Sterling Financial had non-performing assets in residential construction of $19.4 million compared with $2.8 million reported in the same quarter of last year. The total for Sterling was $399.8 million.

Commercial non-performing assets in Northern California totaled $31.1 million for the period ending March 31, down from $53.2 reported in the same period last year. Total for the company was $194.1 million.

Sterling stock is trading at about $1.15. The 52-week range is $0.43 to $5.15.


Summit State Bank in Santa Rosa reported a quarterly cash dividend of 9 cents per share on the company’s common stock.

The dividend is payable May 21 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 11.

Additionally, a dividend on preferred stock was declared payable on May 17.


Exchange Bank in Santa Rosa reported its fourth consecutive quaterly profit. The bank said its net income was $2.1 million for the first quarter compared with a $10.3 million loss in the same period last year.

Net interest revenue increased by $1.7 million, or 11 percent, and non-interest expense declined by $2.3 million, or 14 percent, when compared with the same period in 2009.

Exchange Bank stock is trading at about $43 a share. The 52-week range is $29 to $75.


Westamerica Bancorporation in San Rafael posted a net income for the first quarter of $24 million, up slightly from the last quarter of 2009, but down from $53 million posted in the same quarter of last year.

Total loans were reported at $2.9 billion, down 8.1 percent from $3.1 billion reported the same time last year. Loan loss provision for the first quarter was $2.8 million, a 55.6 percent increase from $1.8 million the prior year.

Westamerica has assets of $4.8 billion, roughly the same as the $4.9 billion reported at the end of the first quarter of 2009. Total deposits were $3.9 billion, flat from the same period the year before.


Circle Bank officially opened its first San Francisco branch in Noe Valley on Saturday with $500,000 in deposits from new customers.

The branch, at 3938 24th St., will operate seven days a week and feature a media center, free Internet access, a stroller corral and be pet friendly.

Circle Bank will be open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; on Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, Circle Bancorp, parent company of Circle Bank, reported first quarter net income of $461,000 million, up 26.7 percent from the same quarter last year.

The Novato-based bank reported total loans at $231 million, the same as last year. Loan loss provision for the first quarter was 1.45 percent up from the 1.08 percent for the same period last year.

Circle Bank has assets of $280 million, up 14.8 percent over the same time last year. Total deposits were $214 million, up 28.8 percent from the year before.

The bank’s net income for the first quarter was $461,000, up 26.7 percent from the same period a year ago.


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