Bank of America has hired 10 advisers across Sonoma and Marin counties for its Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisers division.

Expanding on the integration of wealth management at the bank after it merged with investment firm Merrill Lynch in 2009, the “financial solution advisers” will target customers with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000.

Customers who maintain more than $50,000 in deposit balances at Bank of America or an investment balance with Merrill Edge will receive personalized attention from advisers, according to the bank.

The new staff is part of 80 new hires across the bank’s metro Northwest region, which includes San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and Las Vegas. With the new hires, a grand total of 120 advisers are now working in the Northwest region.

The bank hopes to double the number of Merrill Edge advisers nationally — to 1,000 — by the end of the year.***

Novato-based Circle Bank posted its 49th-consecutive profitable quarter this week, surpassing its net income in the second quarter by 51.8 percent.

The bank’s parent company, Circle Bancorp, reported a net income applicable to common shareholders of $215,000 from July through September, a 3.8 percent increase in income compared to Q3 2010.

That income equates to $0.19 diluted earnings per share, up 2 cents from the same quarter last year.

Circle Bank lowered its percentage of nonperforming assets compared to one year ago from 2.47 percent to 1.79 percent, according to the bank's release.

The bank had $317 million in assets at the end of September. Net loans decreased, by $269,000, to $243.8 million. Total equity increased by $484,000, to $15.99 million. The net interest margin remained stable, 4.7 percent compared to 4.6 percent at the same point last year.

In the release, Circle Bancorp noted several accomplishments for the period, including the Women's Initiative loan program that has helped fund four entrepreneurial businesses and being named one of the North Bay's "Best Places to Work" by the North Bay Business Journal for the fifth consecutive year.

Progress has continued on the bank's new headquarters at 999 Grant Ave. in Novato, on track to open in mid to late 2012, said bank spokesman Gary Tobin. A live feed of the construction is available through www.circlebank.com.

 CORRECTION: This news item has been corrected to reflect the actual projected opening for Circle Bank's new headquarters.


Shareholders of the Novato-based Bank of Marin will see a 1-cent increase in their quarterly cash dividend after the bank’s board of directors voted to increase the payment to 17 cents per share on Friday.

The vote came after the bank’s $4.2 million in reported earnings for the third quarter of 2011, up 26 percent from the same quarter last year, according to a release from the bank. Shareholders holding shares at the close of business Nov. 3 will receive the dividend on Nov. 14.

From January through the end of September, Bank of Marin, the sole subsidiary of Bank of Marin Bancorp, reported earning $12.2 million, up 26 percent from the same period in 2010.

Those earnings included the impact of the FDIC-assisted absorption of certain assets and liabilities from the former Charter Oak Bank in Napa in February. The acquisition has accounted for approximately $1.6 million of the bank’s pre-tax income in Q3, and $4 million of the income through September 2011.

Non-performing loans as of Sept. 30 represented 1.08 percent of total loans, down from 1.13 percent one year ago. The bank’s loan loss provision for the quarter has dropped by $2.5 million from the prior quarter and $900,000 from one year ago, to $500,000.

Total loans at the bank reached $992.6 million at the end of the quarter, a 5.8 percent increase over the same point last year. Bank of Marin attributed much of the increase to the purchase of $61.8 million in loan assets from the former Charter Oak Bank this year. From the end of Q2 on June 30, loans grew by $6 million, or 0.6 percent, an increase that the bank said was primarily due to new relationships.

Bank of Marin opened its 17th full-service branch this month in Sonoma, which generated $1.8 million in deposits and $2.4 million in loans before opening due to business development efforts. It is the third location opened this year after the assumption of duties for Charter Oak and a new branch in Santa Rosa.

The bank reported $1.4 billion in assets at the end of Q3 2011....Submit items for this column to Business Journal Staff Writer Eric.gneckow, 707-521-4259 or eric-gneckow@busjrnl.com.