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2017 BEST Consumer Bank: Exchange Bank

Author: Sarah Stierch
June, 2017 Issue

“Our commitment to the community hasn’t changed.” - Gary Hartwick

For 127 years, Exchange Bank has served as an institution in Sonoma County, and this year its been named Best Consumer Bank by North Bay biz readers. “It’s rewarding—and humbling—to be recognized by the community for our contributions,” says Gary Hartwick, president and chief executive officer.

Just like Hartwick’s response to being named Best Consumer Bank, Exchange Bank’s history is humbling, too. Exchange Bank was founded in downtown Santa Rosa by Manville Doyle and his son, Frank, with the mission of creating a locally owned and managed bank. By the time Frank Doyle died in 1948, Exchange Bank survived the Great Depression, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and two world wars. Upon his death, Doyle left 50.44 percent of his controlling interest in the bank to a perpetual trust. Those funds would form the Frank P. Doyle and Polly O’Meara Doyle Scholarship, which has provided more than $83 million in scholarship funds for American community college education to 127,000 students since its inception.

The legacy of the Doyle family is reflected in the bank’s core values: commitment, respect, integrity and teamwork. It is those values that have helped Exchange Bank succeed in the competitive world of banking. In 2016, they reported net income of $21.5 million, a 2.3 percent increase from 2015. Exchange Bank has 18 branches in Sonoma County and a commercial and small business administration lending service in Marin and Placer counties.

 It’s no surprise that the customer service experience, whether in-person or online, is a priority at Exchange Bank. In 2016, the bank upgraded its mobile banking application, improving the user experience to make account access easier. Exchange Bank has invested heavily in cyber security and  expanded efforts to ensure confidential information remains just that—confidential. To improve the customer experience at local branches, Exchange Bank installed vision walls at each branch location, which display branch specific, web-based information and community event announcements. This year, Exchange Bank is rolling out new account teller platforms and cash handling procedures to improve the in-person experience.

Happy employees make happy customers, and Exchange Bank leadership is dedicated to ensuring their employees thrive so they can provide the best service possible. “The quality of our employees and the service they provide to our customers have always been an integral part of our competitive advantage,” says Hartwick. As of 2016, Exchange Bank employed 386 people at its 21 locations. The bank provides competitive benefits and an innovative employee health and wellness program called Every Body Benefits, which offers everything from exercise programs to flu shots.

While Exchange Bank invests in their employees, they also invest deeply in the community, which is one of the many reasons why the bank has earned reader’s votes. “Our spirit of giving back is evidenced through the countless hours of volunteer time supporting nonprofits and charitable organizations in Sonoma County,” says Hartwick. In 2016, Exchange Bank and its employees gave back $665,000 to the community, with employees raising $145,000 through fundraising activities. Each year, more than 300 nonprofits are benefactors of Exchange Bank’s giving and volunteering. That giving culture is a vital part of Exchange Bank’s success. Says Hartwick, “It’s been a part of our culture since we were founded, and it will continue into the future for generations to come.”


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