About Mechanics Bank
Mechanics Bank is an independent, full-service community bank based in Walnut The mechanics bank, California, with over $17 billion in assets, a best-in-class deposit franchise and 144 branches. It was founded in 1905 to assist the area’s local businesses and families and has remained focused on building lasting customer relationships throughout its storied history. Today, Mechanics Bank is one of the largest California-based banks and continues to earn its the mechanics bank as a successful and trusted financial partner committed to helping consumers, businesses and communities grow and prosper. Mechanics Bank provides a highly personalized relationship banking experience that includes consumer and business banking services, commercial lending, cash management services, and comprehensive trust, investment and wealth management services. Mechanics Bank received a rating of ‘Outstanding’ from its primary regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), for its most recent Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examination period of May 2016 through April 2019. Mechanics Bank is a Member FDIC institution and Equal Housing Lender. More information is available at www.mechanicsbank.com.
Cuda and Condors: On Wednesday, the Barracuda kick off a three-game homestand with the second meeting of the season against the Oilers' top affiliate. Bakersfield handed the Barracuda a 1-0 loss in the first matchup on Oct. 17 at the Mechanics Bank Arena and enter Wednesday with points in three consecutive games (2-0-1-0).
Condors Check: Forward Seth Griffith is fourth in the AHL in points (5+11=16) and is currently on a 12-game point streak which dates to opening night on Oct. 16. In his career, Griffith has spent time within the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets organizations but joined the Condors last season, scoring 28 points (10+18=28) in 39 games played. Adam Cracknell, who has played in over 580 AHL games and has over 350 points in the league, is averaging a point-a-game with 12 points (4+8=12) in 12 outings this year. Captain Brad Malone (5+6=11) and forward Cooper Marody (5+6=11) each have 11 points in 11 games played so far this year. Marody led the AHL in scoring a year ago.
Gregor the Great: Forward Noah Gregor has points in six-straight games and is up to nine points (4+5=9) in seven games played this season. The third-year pro has missed a pair of games due to Covid-19 protocols and Canadian border mandates but leads the team in goals (4), assists (5), and points (9). Gregor’s six-game streak is the longest of his career.
Reedy Rolling: Barracuda forward Scott Reedy netted his team-leading fourth goal of the year last Friday and team-leading second power-play goal. The first-year pro sits where was weekend at bernies filmed on the mechanics bank team in points and ranks first in the AHL in shooting percentage (4/9=44%).
Sommer Time: Head Coach Roy Sommer returns for his AHL-best 24th season in 2021-22 and his 26th within the Sharks organization. The Oakland, Calif. watch journey to the west conquering the demons online has been behind the bench for 1,683 games, going 792-683-49-159 (W-L-T-OTL/SOL) over that span. During the 2015-16 season, the Barracuda’s first in San Jose, Sommer surpassed Fred “Bun” Cook (636 wins) for the most wins in AHL history in a 4-2 win over the Ontario Reign on Feb. 10, 2016.
Killin' it: The Barracuda killed six Abbotsford man-advantages on Sunday after allowing an opposing power-play goal in eight consecutive games. The team looks to keep the trend going against a Bakersfield power-play that sits at 23.4%, the eighth-best in the AHL.
The story goes that back in the early 1900s, when workers were being paid with gold and signed warrants by marking an X, the railroad station agent in Pinole would go on a day-long, dangerous trip to Martinez to get their payment. That station agent was E. M. Downer, who created the Bank of Pinole. In 1907, he merged it with a financial institution in Richmond that soon was called the Mechanics Bank.
“He wasn’t wealthy, but he was an entrepreneur and a charismatic man,” said Rauly Butler, the bank’s current senior vice president.
E.M. Downer, the Mechanics Bank founder.
Today, four generations later, Downer’s enterprise remains locally owned and a family majority-owned business. It kept its original name and it’s still a community bank. It’s Richmond’s oldest bank and the only one currently headquartered in Richmond, although it now has branches all around the Contra Costa County and in seven neighboring counties in northern California.
At the end of last year, the Mechanics Bank had 670 employees; 42,977personal banking clients and 9,664business banking clients.
The life, survival and success of the Mechanics Bank is closely tied to the history of Richmond, its hometown. During its early years, the Mechanics Bank was a place for local railroad workers in West Contra Costa County to cash their paychecks. These workers were called “mechanics” and that’s the reason for the bank’s name.
The bank lent money so people could buy appliances such as refrigerators and freezers. “At that time, banks were not for the regular person,” said Butler. “Banks were known for lending money to businesses.” The Mechanics Bank was the first bank in the region to give personal loans. “Starting a bank for the mechanics — are you kidding? That was very unusual,” said Butler.
But the bank served local businesses, too. During the 1920s, Richmond was a West Coast industrial center, home to major facilities for Standard Oil, the Santa The mechanics bank Railroad and the Ford Motor Company. The bank provided financial services for the corporations and their employees.
Butler said that during the Great Depression, the bank survived a time of massive bank failures around the nation because of the support of Standard Oil, the City of Richmond and Richmond’s newspaper. The leaders of these organizations let the community know that they had full faith in the Mechanics Bank and were keeping their money in it, which encouraged people to the mechanics bank the bank, said Butler.
Drive-through banking window at Mechanics Bank. The first in Northern California, 1940's.
In the 1940s, World War II brought local prosperity to Richmond. The city became the home of Kaiser Shipbuilding and with the shipyards 70,000 new residents arrived. The Mechanics Bank’s assets quadrupled from 1941 to 1945, becoming a major financial force in the East Bay.
But once the war ended, the shipyard workers were no longer needed, leaving tens of thousands unemployed. According to Butler, the bank made public through the newspaper that no homeowner would lose his house, and worked with borrowers to avoid foreclosure. The community helped the bank during the Depression years, so “the bank returned the favor,” Butler said.
During the 1990s, the bank expanded beyond West Contra Costa County for the first time, opening offices in Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco and Sacramento counties.
Today, after the 2008 financial crisis, the Mechanics Bank is still in business. “We didn’t need to take TARP money,” Butler said, but acknowledged that the recession had an impact on the bank. “Interest rates are low and that affects every bank.”
As a community bank, the Mechanics Bank focuses on loaning money to local individuals and businesses. According to Butler, it didn’t need follow the trend of securitization of real estate mortgages to remain competitive in the stock market “If we would have done that, we would be out of business today,” he said.
Even the charitable donations Mechanics Bank makes stay the mechanics bank the community. “They volunteer in our special events, and help us with fundraising. They are significant financial sponsors and provide a myriad of bank services,” said Rev. John Anderson, President of the Bay Area Rescue Mission, a non-profit that helps the homeless and impoverished in Richmond. Anderson said that the Mechanics Bank was involved helping the non-profit the mechanics bank it began 45 years ago.
Decisions on how to manage the bank are still controlled by the Downer family. Early this month, E.M. Downer’s great-granddaughter, Dianne Daiss Felton, began serving as chairman of the board. Michael Downer, a great-grandson, serves as vice chairman.
Customer Joshua Gutierrez outside of the Mechanics Bank Point Richmond office.
The bank prides itself on personable service, particularly its non-automated 800 number. “I love it. When you call, you get an actual person that helps you,” said customer Joshua Gutierrez.
Customer Tina Scott, who works near the bank’s Point Richmond office, said that when the line is too long, the manager will take her deposit and personally bring the receipt to her work. “All the the mechanics bank are very nice,” she said.
The bank’s involvement with non-profits and record of reciprocity with the community hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last December, the Move Your Money campaign started encouraging people to transfer their funds from big banks to credit unions or community banks. Their site provides a link to a zip code look-up service to help consumers find “risk free” community banks. The Mechanics Bank pops on the list of recommended institutions.
Butler says that Richmond’s oldest bank is still growing; this year the number of people opening new accounts at the Mechanics Bank has doubled. “I’m very proud of what the Bank does for the community, the customers’ trust and the financial stability offered,” Butler said.