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NORTH BAY -- San Francisco-based Union Bank, which nearly quadrupled its presence in the North Bay with the recent purchase of troubled Tamalpais Bank in Marin County, has expanded in Sonoma and will add an additional branch in Mill Valley in September.

"Our expansion in the North Bay is under way with the integration of Tamalpais Bank and the recent opening of a full-service branch in Sonoma," said Michael Feldman, senior vice president.

[caption id="attachment_22763" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Mike Feldman"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_22762" align="alignright" width="202" caption="Tim Wennes"][/caption]

At the time of the acquisition of Tamalpais Bank, Tim Wennes, Union Bank vice chairman and chief retail banking officer, said of the acquisition, “We think the North Bay is a very attractive market and wanted to have a stronger presence in it.”

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

Prior to the takeover, Union Bank had just three North Bay branches, one in Kentfield, one in San Rafael and one in Petaluma.

It has a business branch in St. Helena.

Up until the Tamalpais acquisition, Union Bank, then with 346 branches in California, Oregon and Washington, had only had organic growth.

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

A week after the Tamalpais takeover, Union Bank acquired Washington-based Frontier Bank, which was also an assisted purchase with the FDIC.

Union assumed control of 51 Frontier branches. As of the end of the first quarter of this year, Frontier had $3.25 billion in assets, $2.84 billion in deposits, $2.55 billion in loans and 706 employees.

According to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, the holding company Unionbancal Corporation was the 25th largest banking institution in the country. This was at the end of the first quarter, prior to both the Tamalpais and Frontier takeovers. At the time, total assets of Union Bank were $85.4 billion.

And Union Bank is not planning to stop there. Said Mr. Feldman, “With our history and headquarters in San Francisco, our growth plans for the North Bay will remain aggressive.”

Last year Union Bank rebranded itself from Union Bank of California in order to reflect its reach.

“Changing our name to Union Bank was an important first step toward achieving our strategic goals and our desire to have a higher degree of national brand recognition in the financial services marketplace,” said Union Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Masaaki Tanaka.

In addition to the name change, Union Bank enhanced its Women/Diverse Business Banking program dedicated to women- and minority-owned businesses.

“The small business economy is expanding with women and minority entrepreneurs, even during these challenging times, and these business owners seek direction and guidance from financial institutions,” said Vice President and Diverse Business Banking Manager Frank Robinson. “Having an area on our website dedicated to the specific needs of these entrepreneurs is an efficient way to communicate the variety of solutions we offer and demonstrate that we are an advocate for their business.”