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Bank of Marin's new CEO taps into coaching skills for management style

To pull off an acquisition with Sacramento-based American River Bank, Bank of Marin of Novato needed a steady hand and experienced leader serving as half boss, half coach.

Those who know him say that’s what the Marin County financial institution got with Tim Myers, its president and CEO since replacing longtime top executive Russell Colombo on Nov. 1.

Colombo’s departure comes two months after he and Myers, with the help of staff, pulled off a large expansion into the Central Valley when Bank of Marin finalized its $125 million buyout of American River Bank. The large task that Myers directed added 10 locations for retail banking into the Marin County bank network and brought its assets to more than $4 billion.

“Tim is very transparent and focuses on open communication,” said Bank of Marin’s senior commercial lender Cheryl Cinelli, who has worked with Myers for 20 years. The first five years were spent at Comerica Bank about two decades ago where and when the duo worked with Colombo.

Cinelli, who specializes in real estate loans, characterizes Myers as a “trustworthy” manager who “promotes an environment where everyone” matters. Plus, she pointed out that he has razor-sharp skills that have helped many borrowers with their goals — without sacrificing the bank or shareholders.

Colombo agreed, tacking on an honorable work ethic.

“Tim is one of the hardest workers I know,” Colombo said, mentioning times he’s received emails at 10 p.m. as evidence.

Colombo said Myers is a calm, deep thinker who displays “no snap judgments” on the job.

“That’s what makes him very good at his job. All details are important to Tim,” said Colombo. “I’m thrilled for Tim. He’s worked hard for this.”

The 51-year-old bank chief earned the top spot by putting in the time, patience and clarity that comes with his experience as a coach in youth sports.

“No, I’m not surprised he’s a coach. He’s a very good coach,” Cinelli said, adding the skill has translated into his management style.

Sports are important, but family life is even more so.

“If I have to put my time into an activity, it tends to revolve around kids,” said Myers, who has raised two daughters, Polina, 21, and Daniela, 19, and his 16-year-old son, Michael, with his wife, Oksana.

To this day, Myers serves on the board of Side by Side, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides mental health assistance to vulnerable kids.

He passed on his first quest to become a doctor.

“I figured out how much math and science went into it,” he said.

Myers, who hails from Sherwood, Oregon, northwest of Salem, moved on to finance.

“I did see banking as something I would build on in a career. I enjoyed finance and economics. But I didn’t know I would (eventually) run a bank,” he said.

He graduated from Williamette University with a master’s degree in International Policy Studies from Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He also attended the Pacific Coast Banking School.

His 25-year career in financial services includes experience in small business, middle market and corporate banking, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of his career has been wrapped into the realm of lending.

Beyond his tenure with Comerica Bank with Colombo and Cinelli, Myers worked as a commercial banking officer for U.S. Bank. He joined Bank of Marin in April 2007 to launch its San Francisco commercial banking office. In 2013, he was named senior vice president, head of commercial banking, and in 2015 was appointed executive vice president. In June 2020, Myers was promoted to chief operating officer, and then to president in May.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Colombo as predecessor placed his retirement on hold. The shutdowns posed a huge challenge for banks nationwide in trying to restore order to their financial clients having to make do with a long, reflective pause on commercial activity.

“My first thought was, ‘How bad is this going to get, and how long is it going to last?’” he said. “It was the unknown that was hard. It felt like a whiplash that saw things get better and worse. We saw restaurants closing left and right. The pandemic brought doom, but it was temporary. Our people showed up every day. We were just concerned about everybody else.”

To Myers, “having the right people in place” makes a world of difference in overcoming these types of business challenges. He feels he has that at Bank of Marin.

“This is a fabulous opportunity. I’m excited about the role, and the reception at the bank has been very supportive,” he said.

He plans to approach the job with the mindset of another coach, legendary, former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh:

“Keep your head down, do the work, add value, do the right thing; and the rest will take care of itself,” he said.

Susan Wood covers law, cannabis, production, biotech, energy, transportation, agriculture as well as banking and finance. For 25 years, Susan has worked for a variety of publications including the North County Times, now a part of the Union Tribune in San Diego County, along with the Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe News. She graduated from Fullerton College. Reach her at 530-545-8662 or susan.wood@busjrnl.com

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