Circle Bank Sold to Oregon-Based Umpqua Bank

Novato-based community bank agrees to deal after 22-year run. Circle Bank headquarters building that's under construction at 999 Grant will continue to be built as planned, Umpqua said.

Banks are the place for business transactions, and there's a big one to report today in Novato.

, founded 22 years ago and based in Novato, has been sold to Umpqua Bank, Oregon's largest bank. The deal is worth nearly $25 million.

Named after a river and valley identified with a southern Oregon tribe of native Americans, Umpqua Bank has about $12 billion in assets. Just a few weeks ago, Umpqua told the Portland Business Journal that the San Francisco and San Jose areas were its targets for expansion, following what it said in its most recent presentation to investors.

"This partnership is an important first step in our planned expansion in the region,” said Umpqua President/CEO Ray Davis. “Circle Bank has a strong commitment to its customers and communities, and we’re pleased to partner with an organization that shares Umpqua’s community bank values and culture.”

Circle Bank CEO Kim Kaselionis released a statement with her mother, Kit Cole, CEO of parent company Circle Bancorp, emphasizing new opportunities for loyal Circle Bank customers. All six Circle Bank branches will become Umpqua banks.

"The combination of Umpqua and Circle Bank will offer customers expanded geographic coverage and access to the variety of products and services of a large bank delivered with the quality customer service and engagement that only a community bank can provide," they said jointly in the release. "All of us at Circle Bank are excited by the opportunities for our customers, our communities and our employees.”

Circle Bank's net assets are about $306 million, and the combined organization will have assets of about $11.8 billion, deposits of approximately $9.4 billion and shareholders’ equity of approximately $1.7 billion, Umpqua said.

Founded in 1990, Circle Bank has about 70 employees spread out over six branches plus its headquarters at 1400 Grant Ave. in Novato. According to DespositAccounts.com, Circle Bank is the 113th largest bank in California and the 2,047th largest in the United States.

In 2011, Circle Bank's achievements included strong financial performances, the opening of a sixth branch (in Corte Madera), an increase of its workforce by 13 percent and being ranked No. 1 in the North Bay among financial institutions for contributing the most to nonprofits per employee. In February 2012, Circle Bank celebrated its 50th consecutive profitable quarter by donating 50,000 pounds of food to two Bay Area food banks.

Last year marked the start of construction of a at 999 Grant Ave., less than a mile from the bank's current base. Umpqua said it will continue to move forward with that complex, which will include a restaurant, several retail spots and a small bank branch on the ground level plus an office on the second floor.

Shoreline Capital Partners LP, the holder of approximately 99 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock of Circle Bancorp, delivered its agreement to vote in favor of the deal. The boards of both companies approved the transaction, which should be wrapped up by the end of the year, Umpqua said. Circle Bank's board members of Circle Bank are Kaselionis, Cole, Arthur Chatham, Frank Doodha, Steven Leonard, Gregory O'Donnell and John Conover.

Umpqua Bank dates to 1953, when it was started in an old Masonic lodge in Roseburg, Ore. Today it is the 99th largest bank in the country and has more than 2,300 employees at almost 200 locations.

Umpqua Bank is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: UMPQ) and is one of the West Coast’s largest and most stable community banks, according to company literature. The bank's parent company also owns a retail brokerage subsidiary, Umpqua Investments Inc., which has locations in Umpqua Bank stores and in dedicated offices in Oregon. Also, Umpqua’s Private Bank Division serves high-net-worth clients and nonprofits with customized service.

Umpqua Bank has seen steady growth since Davis took the reigns in 1994, when the bank had $140 million in holdings and six rural branches. He has grown Umpqua into the West coast's largest community bank with branches in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

"The bank has the cash to expand beyond those geographic areas, but it's been disciplined in its approach to acquisitions," the Portland Business Journal wrote.

Umpqua Bank recently launched a business banking division geared toward lending to small and mid-sized companies throughout the West Coast. It has had  executive teams in place in key metropolitan markets such as the Bay Area, Sacramento, Seattle, Eugene and Portland. The bank also offers specialized financing for energy efficient and renewable energy improvements through its GreenStreet Lending program.

For the past six years, Umpqua bank has been ranked on FORTUNE magazine’s list of the “Top 100 Companies to Work For” and was named to the Center for Companies That Care Honor Roll four consecutive years.

Umpqua has been aggressive in the sour economy, completing four federally assisted transactions of failed institutions since 2009. The bank reported net earnings of $13.4 million in the first quarter of 2011 and, accord to Davis, its balance sheet is stronger than ever.

For the 's story on this transaction, click here.

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Bob Ratto August 30, 2012 at 04:02 PM
This is great news!...it is very difficult to grow a small size bank in a very competitive market, and Umpqua will be a very good fit around here. I work with and know a lot of their people, and they are top notch.
Novato Chess Club August 30, 2012 at 10:33 PM
more good news in Novato
Stacey Kelly Egide August 30, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Kim Kaselionis has been a strong advocate for Novato, I hope she will continue to be a force of good and prosperity for our city. Congratulations.


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