Edible Monterey Bay

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Santa Cruz County Bank’s New Office Makes a Splash in Downtown Monterey

Sabrina Mulvey, Rich Aiello and Pyong Lewis officially opening the Monterey County branch of Santa Cruz County Bank

The new year brought exciting changes for Santa Cruz County Bank, which launched its downtown Monterey branch on Jan. 19. With this permanent location officially open, Monterey County business owners and residents now have a convenient place to go for their loan and banking needs.

“We are very proud of our new state-of-the-art Monterey branch,” says senior vice president/regional manager Rich Aiello. “The location, look and feel make it perfect. We’ve received positive customer feedback in regards to the convenience of the branch location, having ample parking, and a welcoming atmosphere.”

The full-service branch office at 584 Munras Avenue is part of Santa Cruz County Bank’s mission to better serve the greater Central Coast region. And just as important as the location are the highly experienced team members who are now assisting customers, he says.

“When you call us, you’re not just calling an 800 number—you get a real person,” says Aiello. “That’s the critical thing that sets us apart … people want to feel important and welcomed.”

The entire Monterey team is made up of local, well-known bankers with years of experience. “Our team looks forward to serving our business community and starting new long-term relationships by offering personalized banking solutions, and always being super-responsive,” he notes.

In addition to Aiello, the Monterey team includes:

  • Chris Illig – vice president/senior relationship manager
  • Angelica Arroyo – vice president/branch manager
  • Yadira Rudoni – universal banker
  • Sabrina Mulvey – universal banker
  • Charissa Sopoaga – senior vice president/banking operations officer
  • Pyong Lewis – loan processor

As a community bank, Santa Cruz County Bank prides itself on finding unique solutions to serve its customers, and during this pandemic year, that has never been more important. This year has been the most challenging in recent memory for business owners and residents around the Monterey Bay, due to the devastation caused by last summer’s wildfires as well as COVID-19.

Mary Anne Carson, SBBC chief marketing officer and senior vice president, says that bank staffers are now assisting small business owners in securing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and the bank is one of the few that will process these loans for new as well as existing customers.

Carson says that the new Monterey branch has received a warm welcome from the community and that its location in the downtown area has made SBBC services available not only to the Monterey Peninsula but also the entire Salinas Valley.

Although SCCB serves the needs of a diverse business community, its bankers have a special interest and expertise in farming and agribusiness. Clients from Salinas and Monterey had already been working with the bank prior to the opening of the Monterey branch, and Carson says it’s been a natural progression to offer branches in Monterey County to meet this need.

Says Aiello, “I’m anticipating that we’ll have customers all the way down the Salinas Valley…I’m getting a lot of calls from people in the ag industry.”

Carson says locally-based financial institutions like SCCB are uniquely positioned to serve their clients in a more individual and personal way. At mega-banks, “There isn’t always the expertise or they may not serve certain sectors and that makes room for us.”

The new branch at 584 Munras Avenue in Monterey

SCCB, established in 2004, took a major leap forward in 2019 when it merged with Lighthouse Bank. With the merger, there are now six branches in Santa Cruz County, one Silicon Valley branch and eight ATMs. 

With assets currently exceeding $1 billion, the bank has enhanced lending capacity that enables it to support the regional business community in new and exciting ways, by providing more funds to help businesses get off the ground, or to launch to the next level.

As a community bank, SCCB’s charter is not only to serve financial needs, but to promote the welfare of the community at large. 

In 2019 the bank made cash contributions to many worthy causes and its employees volunteered to work, raise funds, and serve on the boards and committees of more than 150 community-based organizations. All told, SCCB employees volunteered more than 600 hours to community service projects. 

It’s all part of the relationship between SCCB and its community, says Carson, and its determination to invest in the region that it serves.

“Community banks are really the ones who are stepping up to help small business,” says Carson, who notes that SCCB works one-on-one with its business clients and is able to be much more responsive than the average bank. “We listen to the customer, and we can get creative and find a solution.”

SCCB branches offer the same products and services that mega-banks do, but in a more personalized way. Although SCCB’s expertise is in business banking, many customers also rely on it for their personal banking, and can take advantage of either online banking services or in person at the branches. 

Going forward, SCCB pledges to continue investing its resources to advance business growth, affect positive change, and stimulate economic vitality in the communities it serves. And its staff members are standing by, ready to offer aid and assistance now and into the future.

Santa Cruz County Bank • sccountybank.com • 831.457.5000

About the author

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Kathryn McKenzie, who grew up in Santa Cruz and now lives on a Christmas tree farm in north Monterey County, writes about the environment, sustainable living and health for numerous publications and websites. She is the co-author of “Humbled: How California’s Monterey Bay Escaped Industrial Ruin.”