Farmers & Merchants Bank Expands in L.A., Orange Counties; Reinforces Southern California Footprint

F&M Opens 22nd and 23rd Branches in Corona del Mar and Downey; Initiates Community Support to Businesses and Residents

Online PR News – 22-October-2013 – Long Beach, California – Farmers & Merchants (F&M) Bank, a 106-year-old institution, one of California’s strongest banks and among the largest banks in the nation, is growing again with two new branches opening today in the cities of Corona del Mar and Downey. The new branch openings underscore F&M’s longstanding status as a dependable, forward-moving (and thinking) banking institution – and represent the latest in a century-old list of growth milestones and other impressive organizational accomplishments that have cemented the Bank’s reputation in Southern California for security, customer confidence and corporate momentum.

Corona del Mar and Downey, each rich in California history, replete with thriving businesses and populated by dedicated residents, have been eagerly awaiting the two newest additions to the F&M network, which is headquartered in Long Beach, and stretches north into the South Bay and reaches into the southernmost border of Orange County. Farmers & Merchants Bank is now comprised of 23 branches, divided almost evenly between Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

“Clearly, we are proud to be opening locations in Corona del Mar and Downey, and our new branches reflect the beliefs of the F&M executive team that the economic recovery in Southern California is rebounding encouragingly,” said Daniel K. Walker, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of F&M Bank. “While some banks have closed branches or downsized operations, our organization sees ongoing opportunities to expand to serve the businesses and residents of dynamic communities such as these, thus reinforcing our philosophy to support our customers wherever they are – however and whenever they want.”

F&M places a high value on in-person, customized service, located within brick-‘n’-mortar buildings and delivered by bank managers and staff members whose tenure sometimes spans decades. Concurrently, customers who wish to bank independently, outside the realm of their local branch, can do so easily with the Bank’s online banking services and mobile applications. F&M also offers youth bank accounts for children and teens, retirement plans, merchant services, commercial real estate loans, home loans, banking products for physicians, nonprofits and education, and more.

F&M Bank began operations in 1907 in Long Beach, then a sleepy seaside town, and has been managed by the Walker family for four generations. C.J. Walker founded the bank. Fourth generation Chairman of the Board and CEO Daniel Walker, and President W. Henry Walker, are at the helm today. Fifth generation Christine Walker-Bowman serves as First Vice President.

Handshake by handshake, and city by city, the Bank’s growth over the past century has consistently expanded throughout the region, with each branch reflecting the pure F&M philosophy of business and providing a truly personalized banking experience.

F&M’s entries into Corona del Mar and Downey are similar to their previous branch openings in other cities – with the organization investing in each community by purchasing the buildings and becoming actively engaged in community organizations and local philanthropies.

“This is the way F&M does things – viewing community real estate investments as our commitment to stay for the long haul,” said Henry Walker. "We believe it is our civic duty to invest in the communities that we serve."

The new branch in Corona del Mar, located at 2421 East Coast Highway, lies at the vibrant, well-traveled intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and East Coast Highway. The building was designed to replicate distinctive features of the iconic F&M headquarters in downtown Long Beach, built in 1923 in the neo-Italian Renaissance style.

The striking facade features white Grecian-style columns, a clock tower four feet in diameter holding the American flag, and brass-plated steel doors. An elevator will carry customers from underground parking into the interior, where they will find marble floors, an amber stained glass skylight and sit-down tellers to accentuate the personalized service for which Farmers & Merchants is known.

Jeff Spinelli, a 26-year employee of F&M Bank and F&M regional manager, will greet customers as inaugural Corona del Mar branch manager.

In the city of Downey, F&M Bank is being welcomed to a prominent location at 9001 Firestone Blvd, at the corner of Lakewood and Firestone Blvds., in a community that looks forward to having a strong community bank.

“Before adding any branches to our network, we carefully study the environment to ensure it’s a good fit for us and for the community,” said Daniel Walker. “We found Downey to be a perfect choice for serving both commercial and residential customers, and we look forward to bringing local banking services to them, and also to expanding our support of community events.”

John F. Casillas will serve as branch manager of Downey. While new to F&M, he’s a 21-year veteran of the banking industry and well-known and highly regarded in the Downey community. He has been very active in Downey, both with the Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

Both branches will begin serving the local community today. Grand opening celebrations are planned for late January 2014 in each city.

About Farmers & Merchants Bank
Founded in Long Beach in 1907 by C.J. Walker, Farmers & Merchants Bank has 23 branches in L.A. and Orange counties. The Bank specializes in commercial and small business banking along with business loan programs. Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach is a California state chartered bank with deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Member FDIC) and an Equal Housing Lender. For more information about F&M, please call the media contacts listed or visit the website, www.fmb.com.

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Contact Information
Melissa Masters
HKA, Inc. Marketing Communications

(714)426-0444