River Valley Community Bank to open in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

River Valley Community Bank to open in Grass Valley

Jennifer Terman
Staff Writer

Photo for The Union by John Hart

River Valley Community Bank, a Yuba City-based bank open since 2006, will expand and open a new full-service branch office in Grass Valley, possibly by mid-July on Sutton Way in the Glenbrook Basin.

"We're really excited to get involved with this community, and after speaking with local business owners, we feel there is a need for a local community business bank," said Michael P. Vasquez, senior vice president of River Valley Community Bank.

River Valley Community offers personal banking and cash management services, as well as commercial, agriculture, construction and home loans. According to the FDIC, River Valley received a satisfactory Credit Report Assessment rating and had $138,793 in assets as of December 2011.

The bank's shareholders are local, said John I. Jelavich, president and CEO, as well as the ownership and management, as he resides in Yuba City and Vasquez in Nevada City.

The local aspect of the bank is an attractive addition to the community, said Tim Corkins, treasurer of the Economic Resource Council, who met with Vasquez and Jelavich last winter.

"The home-lending market wasn't that good, and that's not their focus. Their focus is on the business customer and clientele," Corkins said.

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River Valley will have to compete with corporate national banks, which may prove challenging, Corkins said, but its local angle is advantageous.

"One thing we have a problem with is getting the bigger banks involved in the community," Corkins said, "(River Valley) is definitely local and will be involved locally."

In September 2011, western Nevada County's only locally based lender, Citizens Bank of Northern California, was shut down after failing to raise at least $12 million in fresh capital. Citizens had lost $22 million from 2008 through 2010, according to bank records. Federal bank regulators paid Tri Counties Bank of Chico $44.1 million to take over Citizens Bank of Northern California, after Tri Counties determined Citizens had about $70.1 million in potentially uncollectible loans, according to federal and bank officials.

Vasquez said he has been especially able to get a feel for the needs of the community, and River Valley expects to overcome economic obstacles some local banks have previously suffered by understanding the client.

"We will be responsive to customers' needs," Vasquez said. "We are a business-oriented, relationship-building bank."

River Valley has seen 23 consecutive profitable quarters, Vasquez said, as well as a five-star rating by Bauer Financial, a leading bank and credit union assessment company.

"We don't drag people along in terms of waiting for a decision," Jelavich said.

As the business sought expansion, there were many location options, but Grass Valley was found to be the best opportunity, Vasquez said.

"We found Grass Valley to be most in need and that we could provide the most mutual benefit," he said. "We are looking forward to serving this community."

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email jterman@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

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