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2014 BEST Business Bank: Exchange Bank

Author: Karen Hart
May, 2014 Issue

“We have an incredibly dedicated staff, and pride ourselves for our one-on-one customer service.” —Gary Hartwick

 
Once again, Exchange Bank remains the leader in banking, winning a BEST Business Bank award for the 10th time.  Exchange Bank has been serving the North Bay for more than 100 years and endured two world wars, an earthquake, the Great Depression and the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008. What’s the key to its success? “A leadership philosophy that started in 1890 that we’re still passionate about,” says Gary Hartwick, president and chief executive officer, who recently took over for Bill Schrader.
 
Exchange Bank was co-founded by Manville Doyle and his son, Frank, who opened the doors for business on May 1, 1890. The bank was located in Santa Rosa on Fourth Street, east of Mendocino Avenue. At the time, Manville was 61 years old. “They were visionaries who believed deeply in the community and giving back to it,” says Hartwick.  When the earthquake of 1906 left Exchange Bank in a pile of rubble, the Doyles committed to rebuilding the bank, and Frank Doyle was instrumental in getting Santa Rosa reconstructed as well.
 
In the spirit of the Doyles’ original philosophy, Exchange Bank is still a community-minded leader. In 2013, the bank donated more than $500,000 to 200 Sonoma County organizations. Additionally, the Doyle Trust has benefited more than 120,000 Santa Rosa Junior College students by awarding them in excess of $80 million in scholarships since 1948.
 
The most noteworthy news at Exchange Bank these days is its change in leadership. In March, Bill Reinking retired as chairman of the board after 50 years of service; Schrader, former president and chief executive officer, will be stepping in as chairman of the board. Hartwick was previously executive vice president and chief credit officer of River Bank.
 
What’s on the horizon for Exchange Bank? In the year ahead, it plans to focus on growing its loan portfolio, particularly for professionals and small businesses, the wine industry, commercial real estate and construction.
 
As for the business of banking, Exchange Bank is piloting a “branch of the future” in Windsor. The goal is to create a branch that allows a more interactive approach to customer service. The branch is currently under renovation and scheduled to open in May. If you’re a customer at the Windsor branch, be prepared for some dramatic and fun new changes. First, there’ll be no teller lines. Employeesreferred to as “universal bankers”will be mobile and carrying computerized tablets, letting them mingle among customers and handle their needs and transactions, starting at the door. Second, a “Technology Bar” will let customers go online and check their accounts or schedule an appointment with a lending officer, a trust officer or other professional. And finally, there will be Wi-Fi, a 70-inch vision wall and an interactive “Ask Frank,” which will feature products and services.
 
Meantime, Exchange Bank continues to do what it does best, provide first-rate customer service and give back to the community. Exchange Bank will celebrate its 124th anniversary in May, and Hartwick credits a culture of giving back to the community for its enduring presence in Sonoma County. “We have an incredibly dedicated staff and pride ourselves for our one-on-one customer service. I’m grateful that our performance is due to our loyal customers and the hard work of our dedicated employees.”

 

 

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