California Wine Country banking executives hope for a return to normal in 2021

Not much to say about 2020 in the banking sector that does not involve the coronavirus. Economic uncertainty dominated the year. Here’s what some of the region’s banking leaders are saying about the prospects for recovery.

In this report, in alphabetical order, are Todd Allen of Heritage Bank of Commerce, Jeff Clark of Live Oak Bank, Marshall Graves of Bank of Marin, Brian Kilkenny of Redwood Credit Union, Celia King of Poppy Bank, Mike Ledwich of Tri Counties Bank , Alison Martin of US Bank, Brandy Lee Seppi of Summit State Bank and Paul Yeomans of Exchange Bank.

Todd allen

Executive Vice President | North Bay Market President

Heritage Commerce Bank

999 Fifth Ave. # 100, San Rafael 94901


commercial bank. patrimonial bank

Todd Allen has lived in Marin County for over 20 years. He joined the Presidio banking team – now Heritage Bank of Commerce – as President of the North Bay Market.

Prior to starting his financial career, Mr. Allen obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Year in which you held this position: 2007

If there was one thing to remember from 2020 in commercial banking, what would it be?

The pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll on local businesses. This has been particularly painful in certain specific industries such as the restaurant and hospitality industry. The paycheck protection program was particularly important to businesses in these industries.

In general, however, small and medium-sized businesses in the Bay Area have shown impressive resilience throughout 2020. Many quickly made adjustments by moving their operations online or developing alternative revenue streams. to navigate this unprecedented economic environment.

True, being a business owner or executive is always a challenge, but being successful throughout this pandemic is an incredible achievement and we are proud to have helped so many full businessmen and nonprofits. of resources.

How have the interests of buyers and sellers changed in 2020 due to the market response to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus?

In 2020, we have seen buyers and sellers become more cautious. Building up liquidity reserves has become a priority. Buying and selling has been put on hold as everyone waited to see when and how the markets would recover from the pandemic.

How do you think the economic disruption has fundamentally altered the North Bay commercial real estate market, and how permanent will these changes be??

It is too early to fully understand the long term ramifications for commercial real estate. Hopefully the residual effects of the pandemic will wear off as we approach 2021.

With all of the market known in 2020, what surprised you most about the North Bay commercial market’s reaction to this disruption?

We have seen the market adapt quickly to its new reality. Many landlords and tenants have worked together to help businesses navigate the turbulent conditions. This coordination and cooperation has been enormous in overcoming some of the challenges associated with the pandemic. Early on, we also saw many investors quickly build up cash reserves as commercial real estate buying activity slowed down considerably.

Have transactions been delayed and / or more contentious due to the market disruption?

Commercial real estate activity has simply been delayed in 2020 due to market disruptions. Everyone seemed to be waiting and seeing them approach. As we head into 2021, we are starting to see more projects develop. This is especially the case in stronger sectors such as industry and manufacturing.

Looking ahead, what’s next for this market and does the vaccine and the possibility that the coronavirus crisis is behind us mean a rapid recovery in the second half of 2021?

It is too early to tell at the moment. It will all depend on how quickly the pandemic passes. However, given the historic strength of North Bay’s economy and the large cash reserves accumulated by investors, we are optimistic about the future.

Jeff clark

Principal lender

Bank of live oaks

100 B St., Suite A, Santa Rosa, CA. 95401


My career as a wine and craft beverage lender began in St. Helena with the Napa Valley Bank. I have worked with wineries, breweries, distilleries, and craft beverage producers across the United States. My experience spans the spectrum from small family businesses to publicly traded companies.

Year in which you held this position: 2014

If there was one thing to remember from 2020 in commercial banking, what would it be?

Let me start by saying that the following statements are my opinion only and not necessarily that of Live Oak Bank. My biggest takeaway is, be prepared! Business models were put to the test in 2020. No one could see it coming, but it proved the viability of a diverse business model and the need to stay nimble.

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