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2010 Best Company to Do Business With in Napa County: Napa Community Bank

Author: Beth Galleto
May, 2010 Issue
Like so many others in recent months, Napa Community Bank (NCB) recently announced its acquisition by Rabobank, N.A., a California community bank with branches from Roseville to the Imperial Valley. But although it was purchased by Rabobank of The Netherlands, NCB President/CEO Dennis Pedisich promises the emphasis on “community” will stay, even when the name and ownership change. NorthBay biz readers selected Napa Community Bank as Best Company to do Business with in Napa County this year, and last year as well. Pedisich is convinced that next year will be no different.

What’s special about this bank? Pedisich says he frequently hears the sound of laughter in the bank, coming from conversations among employees and clients. There’s no solemn, serious atmosphere, which has a lot to do with the bank’s employees. “We have very little turnover,” says Pedisich. “We let the personality of the employee shine. Employees get to know our clients. I’ve heard from a number of clients that this makes coming to the bank an enjoyable experience. They say they never felt this way about other banks. I often hear that someone walked in feeling not so good, and they walked out feeling great.”

Some might wonder if maintaining an atmosphere that leaves employees time to talk and laugh with their clients is the most efficient way for a bank to operate. “My take on this is yes,” says Pedisich. “The clients walk out and tell their friends, neighbors and business associates. They’re the ones who sell the bank.”

They also select the bank for numerous awards. In addition to this one, the bank was named 2009 Business of the Year by the Napa Chamber of Commerce and Best Bank in Napa in KVON radio’s listeners poll.

It’s not just the friendly, family attitude that makes customers passionately support the bank. In difficult times such as the past couple of years, employees of Napa Community Bank have gone out of their way to try to help clients solve their financial problems. “We take the time to listen to our clients and work through different scenarios. A lot of businesses are struggling. We try to be sensitive to their needs and work with them to solve their problems,” says Pedisich.

Rabobank expects to retain all the current staff, including all senior management, commercial and branch employees. Pedisich will become the Napa Valley regional president for Rabobank, N.A., overseeing the North Coast Wine Country “The entire staff is excited about this partnership with Rabobank, N.A.,” he says. “We share the same core, community banking values and approach to doing business. We’ve asked our board of directors to stay on as advisory board members, further demonstrating both Rabobank’s and Napa Community Bank’s continuing commitment to our market and our customers.”

The Rabobank Group, as a whole, already has a lending portfolio of more than $500 million in Napa Valley, primarily to wineries and others in the food and agribusiness industry. Over the last 15 months, Rabobank has opened 12 new branches in California, bringing the total to 92. The bank also has 15 financial service and agribusiness centers throughout the state, including an agribusiness center in Santa Rosa.

Pedisich says that since the news broke in early February, it’s been well received by the bank’s clients, who haven’t closed accounts because of it and who continue to open as many new accounts as before.

“We have Rabobank’s commitment to keep our recognition going,” Pedisich says. Ronald Blok, CEO of Rabobank, N.A., has said that the Rabobank and Napa Community Bank organizations share a strong commitment to community-oriented banking, personalized service and local investment.

Napa Community Bank supports more than 70 nonprofit organizations with donations, and its staff volunteers for a number of events. At the Napa Valley Marathon on March, 13 of the bank’s 27 employees showed up on a Sunday—at 7 a.m.—to man a water station at the 18-mile mark. “That’s not unusual, and it will continue,” says Pedisich.

Pedisich was one of the bank’s first employees when it was started nine years ago, and he’s both proud and amazed at what it’s been able to achieve. “We have $160 million in assets. Our employees say this is the best place they’ve ever worked, and our clients say it’s the best place they’ve ever banked. We have a family friendly workplace and dedicated, passionate staff. It’s family.” 






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