“The big banks are like McDonalds, and we’re like the neighborhood cafe.” —Peter Pelham
If you’re looking for a bank where people interact with you on a personal level, provide consistent good service and seek involvement in your local community, Bank of Marin is for you. If what you want is a big bank with a lot of bells and whistles and a convoluted 800 number, go elsewhere.
So says Peter Pelham, executive vice president, director of retail banking at Bank of Marin. “It was a bit of a surprise that we received this award, because we’re not everything to everyone. We’re looking for a select group of consumers, primarily business customers.” He continues, “The big banks are like McDonalds, and we’re like the neighborhood café. We know who you are, and we customize to fit your needs.”
Bank of Marin’s motto, “legendary service,” means “inspiring loyalty through exceptional service,” Pelham says. The concept means always doing the right thing for customers, with integrity and mutual respect.
Bank of Marin was incorporated in 1989. From the beginning, it offered business banking, personal banking and wealth management services. Its focus has always been on lending to local businesses and supporting the local community.
The bank and its employees are well known for volunteering in the community. Last year, this added up to more than 10,000 hours of volunteer time, Pelham says. “The bank strongly encourages staff not only to show up at events but to be on boards, make decisions and impact the community. We also donate money to local causes. We try to give back a minimum of 1 percent of profits in donations. This is typically higher than most.”
The bank has received numerous awards in the past, including the highest five-star rating from Bauer Financial for more than 14 years. It’s been recognized for several years as one of the Best Places to Work in the North Bay and one of the Top Corporate Philanthropists by other publications. NorthBay biz voters selected Bank of Marin BEST Company to Do Business with in Marin County in 2008 and BEST Business Bank in 2011.
Starting with branches in Corte Madera and San Rafael, Bank of Marin now has 21 locations in Marin, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma and Alameda counties. “Counties outside Marin are very important markets for us,” Pelham says. “We’re looking to gain a presence in the wine industry. We recently hired a team of very experienced bankers who can help us in that regard.” The challenge is to provide the same high level of service in all locations. “It’s a challenge, but we think we’re up to it,” says Pelham.
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