Tri Counties Bank has applied to purchase First National Bank of Northern California. If this merger application is approved, Tri Counties will have over $6 billion in assets and a network of 74 branches in several California counties. The merger is still in the early stages, but CRC would like to see Tri Counties make a strong commitment to California communities.
CRC would also like to see that no shortcuts are taken by the bank or regulators. We were disappointed that Tri Counties sought a waiver from the Federal Reserve so it would not have to apply for permission for the bank holding companies to merge. CRC raised concerns about this waiver. On her last day as Federal Reserve Board Chair, Janet Yellen denied the Tri Counties waiver request, because “a third party” started asking questions.
The upshot to this waiver being denied is that the bank will have to follow proper procedures, the merger application will be subject to greater transparency, and the public will have the opportunity to weigh in on whether this merger will provide a public benefit to communities.
The Federal Reserve’s waiver denial letter suggests that the third party may be objecting to the merger, but CRC has not decided whether we will object. We are hopeful that Tri Counties will make a meaningful commitment low-income communities as it enters San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. In the meantime, please let me know if you are interested in tracking this merger and being involved if we object or negotiate.
Through challenges and victories large and small, we press on together to provide regulatory and corporate accountability. We greatly appreciate the advocacy and support of CRC members. It makes a difference!