Boring Bay Area Banks Bring Home the Bacon

02.28.2012 - Money Matters

On February 7, 2012 I was privileged to Chair the program “Boring Bay Area Banks Bring Home the Bacon” on behalf of the Association for Corporate Growth – San Francisco.

Despite significant headwinds, Bank of Marin and California Bank of Commerce have thrived during the last several years.  The CEOs shared with a record audience how they managed to steadily grow net income, deposits and loan portfolios by sticking to the basics of banking – taking deposits and lending to middle market companies.

Given the crisis of confidence that gripped financial markets since their collapse in 2008, the performance of the two banks has been nothing short of remarkable.

Russell A. Colombo is CEO, President & Director of Bank of Marin Bancorp, and has been since 2006.  He joined the bank in 2004 as Executive Vice President.  On January 20th, the bank reported record net income for the year ended December 31, 2011.

Data from Charles Schwab as of January 31, 2012 showed Bank of Marin providing shareholders a five year total return of 14.0%. It outperformed its peer group as well as Silicon Valley Bank, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, JP Morgan and Bank of America, all of which provided negative returns for the period.

On March 31, 2009, less than four months after receiving TARP money, the bank was one of the first four banks to repay the funds it had received in December 2008.

John E. Rossell is CEO, President & Director of California Bank of Commerce, and has held these roles since founding the bank in July 2007 fourteen months before the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.  John was the founding CEO, President  & Director of two other Bay Area banks.

On January 24th, the bank reported record levels of loans, deposits, assets as well as record net income for the quarter and the year ended December 31, 2011.  The bank serves closely held companies with $5 million to $50 million of annual revenues.

As Mark Calvey from the San Francisco Business Times noted in his 1/31/12 article, “both California Bank of Commerce (OTC BB: CABC.OB) and Bank of Marin (NASDAQ: BMRC) receive Bauer Financial’s highest rating of five stars.”

In closing, I have to paraphrase from one of Mark Calvey‘s observations “the conversation proved to be anything but boring.”