Bank of Marin on Oct. 23 reported third-quarter earnings of $5.1 million, nearly the same as the $5.2 million of earnings from the second quarter.
During the firestorm that pounded Napa and Sonoma counties for more than a week starting Oct. 8, Bank of Marin closed its branches in Napa, Healdsburg and the town of Sonoma. None of the branches burned. The small Healdsburg branch, closed for a few days, had just opened in August, and is managed by Tara Johnson.
The Bank of Marin branch in the center of the city of Sonoma was used as a volunteer center during the fires.
Bank of Marin’s Napa branch had to close. “All the roads were closed,” said Russ Colombo, CEO and president of Bank of Marin. “There was no access. There was no physical damage. We had a few customers who lost property — a mobile home we had financed that burned. A customer who had a number of investments,” including “a fourplex that was burned. Our commercial real estate that we finance, most of it was fine,” he said.
One winery financed by the bank had damage to its vineyards.
“The impact in Sonoma County was significantly more than Napa,” Colombo said of the fires. He has met with bank leaders in the North Bay, including Gary Hartwick, CEO of Exchange Bank, in efforts to support rebuilding. Hartwick organized the meeting. Debbie Meekins, the CEO of First Community Bank, based in downtown Santa Rosa, lost her home in the fires that destroyed more than 8,400 structures.
“We want to all work together to help,” Colombo said of the bankers in the community.
“We had one employee who lost her home” in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa, where nearly 3,000 homes burned. Otherwise “we were very fortunate,” Colombo said. “Everybody from the bank is accounted for. This is going to take a long time for the community to recover. It’s quite devastating. There are long-term implications here. It’s going to be a couple of years before we can rebuild all this. It’s going to take a very strong, concerted effort by the community to get back on its feet. We are willing to do anything we can to help.”
The acquisition of Bank of Napa by Bank of Marin, valued at about $51 million, is on track to close on Nov. 20, according to Colombo. The acquisition was announced at the end of July and expected to close by the end of November. Audits and approvals by federal authorities are ahead of schedule, Colombo said, so the deal can be consummated on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
“We wanted to get it done before the holidays,” Colombo said. Regulators observe a kind “cooling-off period” after giving preliminary approval to a bank merger, and the Bank of Napa deal is in that period now. In the third quarter, Bank of Marin spent about $495,000 on acquisition expenses.
Upon completion of the acquisition of two branches of Bank of Napa, Bank of Marin will have 23 branches and about $2.4 billion in assets. When the acquisition closes, Bank of Marin will add one director from the dissolved Bank of Napa, chosen by the Bank of Marin board from nominations by the Bank of Napa.
North Bay Business Journal published a detailed anatomy of the Bank of Napa deal in its issue of Aug. 28.