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Also: Wells Fargo economist points to strength in exports, foodVeteran North Bay banker Jamie Williams has joined Sonoma Bank as commercial banking regional director.

He was previously with Tamalpais Bank in Marin, which was closed by regulators and sold to Union Bank. In his role as president at Tamalpais, Mr. Williams was focused on making the shift from a retail-focused bank to a business bank.

[caption id="attachment_25953" align="alignright" width="216" caption="Jamie Williams, Debbie Meekins"][/caption]

Previously, Mr. Williams worked for Greater Bay Bancorp, Golden Gate Bank, Bank of Petaluma, Wells Fargo, Union Bank and Westamerica.

Debbie Meekins, executive vice president and retail banking director, said the bank is excited to bring on someone with Mr. Williams' experience at a time when Sonoma Bank, which is owned by Washington-based Sterling Savings Bank, is coming into a new era. The bank recently had a cease and desist order lifted by regulators after raising $730 million and coming up with a new capital plan.

The bank is shoring up its lending programs and is becoming more active in SBA lending, with Joe Smith, senior vice president and SBA banking manager, leading the helm. Sonoma Bank was a strong SBA lender before Sterling encountered its problems, and according to Mr. Smith, it intends to regain its place in the North Bay market.

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California’s strong exports from Hollywood, the wine industry, aerospace, the tech industry and from other industries are rising and should help the economy recover; in the U.S., there is growth in the double digits in exports, according to Wells Fargo’s San Francisco-based economist Gary Schlossberg.

Speaking in Sonoma County, he noted the area has about 200 food processors with the industry posting 3 percent growth. However, he said, if the processor is a natural food or organic company, it is likely seeing 30 percent growth.

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Bingham, Osborn and Scarborough LLC, a wealth management firm with offices in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, has opened a new office in Healdsburg.

“We are excited and proud to become part of what is a vibrant city and county,” said Principal Kevin Dorwin. “We believe there is a need for high quality and transparent financial advice from a respected and well-established firm in this market, and we are confident that our history of success and dedicated client service make us a perfect candidate to fit this role. Healdsburg provides a great foundation from which to meet the needs of affluent individuals throughout Sonoma County.”

The company was founded in 1985 and has 33 employees. It manages more than $2 billion in assets for roughly 700 clients.  Many of its clients already live in Wine Country.

The Healdsburg office will be led by John Burns. Mr. Burns is a Certified Financial Planner and lives in the area. “We are thrilled to become part of the community and to help meet the complex needs of local residents,” he said.

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Umpqua Bank officially announced its first Santa Rosa location.

The location offers Sonoma County residents and businesses with Umpqua Bank mortgage, commercial and personal banking services, as well as access to its investment firm, Umpqua Investments Inc.

“We are pleased to bring Umpqua’s high-touch community banking experience to Santa Rosa,” said Brad Copeland, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer for Umpqua Bank. “This site will provide additional resources to customers we already serve in the area, while introducing Umpqua Bank to new customers as we continue to expand our Sonoma County presence.”

Umpqua Bank’s 4,600-square-foot office is at 1322 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, and is open weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.•••

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