Bank of Marin's Tani Girton wins 2019 North Bay CFO award

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Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Bank of Marin

504 Redwood Blvd., Suite 100, Novato, CA 94947


Tani Girton, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Bank of Marin, based in Novato, is one of North Bay Business Journal's CFO Recognition Awards winners for 2019.

Number of company employees: 305

Education: MBA – San Francisco State University; BA, International Affairs – Lewis and Clark College

How has the current economic environment changed how you carry out your job at your current employer?

Regardless of changing environments, at Bank of Marin, we adhere to our guiding principles, relationship banking, disciplined fundamentals and commitment to community. We closely monitor the interest rate and business environments as well as the capital markets at all times and have an inventory of proven strategies to address a variety of scenarios. This enables us to consistently manage our business proactively as changes occur.

What are the two key challenges your industry faces?

Changing regulatory requirements involve significant resources to implement, and new regulations can go through multiple iterations before they go into effect. These dynamics can make it challenging for institutions to efficiently plan for the future.

A second challenge is legislation that lags behind industry developments, which often results in an uneven playing field. Examples are uneven tax treatment and/or community reinvestment requirements among types of institutions that conduct the same business.

Tell us about a recent success your company has had.

Executing on a successful integration, thanks to the hard work of so many, after the Bank of Napa acquisition transaction closed in late 2017. Acquisition costs were below expectations and post conversion cost savings slightly better than expected.

The integration went very well and we are growing the market. Former Bank of Napa employees are outstanding contributors to Bank of Marin’s culture and success.

What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?

Listen carefully to what your colleagues on the front line and operations teams have to tell you. There is no value in numbers or models if they are not grounded in the realities of your business.

5How do you think your business will change in the next five years?

We will continue to see advancements in digital banking, giving customers so many different ways to do their banking. This does create a rise in fraud and cybersecurity concerns. In response, we’re already seeing great strides in using artificial intelligence to identify and avoid those risks. As this technology continues to advance, it will give us greater opportunities to protect our customers’ information and also to help them protect their businesses.

What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it?

I learned long ago (and continue to be reminded of) the risk of being rushed into a decision. While time may be of the essence, part of a making a good decision is understanding the cost of moving too fast. Be sure to understand all the alternatives, consider economic and accounting impacts, and most importantly, make sure to involve the right people in the final decision.

What is your most memorable business experience?

Selecting my place of work based on its management’s alignment with my personal values. Making this approach a top priority has paid off far more than I imagined. I had no idea how much a difference it would make in my “whole life happiness factor.”

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Bank of Marin

504 Redwood Blvd., Suite 100, Novato, CA 94947


What is your greatest business success?

I continue to learn every day. Being open to the growth process keeps me engaged in my work and helps me build strong and lasting relationships with my team members and colleagues.

What was your toughest business decision?

Personnel changes are always the most difficult to implement effectively. I make it a priority to spend some time on talent development each day. It is important to give people honest feedback (and to ask for it in return) and be on the lookout for opportunities for them to succeed. When you build trust in this way, it allows employees to open their minds to change and doing things differently.

What would your friends and family be surprised to find out about you?

Sometimes I do a little acting at work. We have a monthly meeting of the entire company at which we celebrate the legendary service of our team members. At one of these I was asked to present and took on the role of detective to tell one of our employee’s stories of service.

Tell us about your community involvement activities.

I’m on the Board of Professional BusinessWomen of California, an organization that provides skill development, networking opportunities and inspiration for women at all levels to achieve their own ambitions while advancing gender equality. GraceSigns, a nonprofit focused on mobile learning of sign language, is close to my heart. I am also a past board member and Treasurer for Junior Achievement Northern California.

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