January 15, 2021
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Sebastopol Exchange Bank moved

By: Bill Hanson
November 27, 2020

The Exchange Bank branch in Sebastopol has moved into an architecturally designed new home. The new branch is located at 840 Gravenstein Hwy N., just a driveway north of the old location. The new branch is designed with an open layout and includes a customer lounge area and coffee bar, free Wi-Fi, a kids’ zone, personal banker and manager offices—providing more banking privacy. A representative directs each customer to an appropriate ‘teller’ or to the right person for any of dozens of banking needs. The old bank, in the new building, in a new format, feels more permanent.

The Exchange Bank’s long history of philanthropy in Sonoma County is not new. The bank turned 130 years-old this year and remains a leader in contributions to worthy causes. One favorite program, the Redwood Empire Food Bank, comes to mind and the Council on Aging, through their Senior Nutrition program, they make and deliver 285,000 meals every year, known as Meals on Wheels and cook for the many congregate dining sites that provide a hot meal for seniors.

Bank employees are encouraged to participate in community-building activities, many of which receive funding from the bank. Locally, the bank has supported the much-loved, annual Gravenstein Harvest Fair at Ragle Park. Exchange Bank has also touched many local lives in a personal way; 50.44 percent of the bank’s cash dividends go to the Doyle Trust which funds the Doyle Scholarship at Santa Rosa Junior College. Since 1948, the Doyle Scholarship Fund has provided $90 million to over 135,000 students. The Doyle Scholarship is a long-standing benefit for those who seek education beyond high school. Co-founder of the bank, Frank P. Doyle established the Frank P. Doyle and Polly O’Meara Trust to assist, “Worthy young men and women who attend Santa Rosa Junior College.”

Many are not aware of the role Mr. Doyle played in realizing construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. He gathered other forward-thinking leaders in the North Bay and within San Francisco to successfully push for the bridge. Doyle Dr., which leads from the toll plaza to the city interior, was named in his honor.

In today's fast changing world, Exchange Bank is taking a leadership role. The dark side of the internet is a real threat to individuals and financial institutions. Ms. Lorena Frigault, Exchange Bank’s Sebastopol branch relationship banker, shared insight into the seriousness of financial fraud. Financial crimes regularly target personal bank accounts. “We check for certain flags in individual accounts. We personally contact our customers to verify any suspicious transactions. We work very hard to prevent financial fraud and abuse,” Lorena said. “The number of ways that criminals get personal and financial information is growing. When you use a credit or debit card, particularly at gas pumps in busy stations, it’s a good idea to check the credit card device to make sure a reader hasn’t been placed in the opening by a potential criminal before you use it. Give the opening a jiggle; a loose opening may indicate a reader device has been attached by a fraudster that will store your card information for later use.” She said, “I always go inside and pay at the register.”

In the bank’s ongoing commitment to keeping your online activities more secure, they have launched an online course, designed to help protect you and your family on the web. The course has eight sections that include topics such as online banking security, keeping your identity safe and protecting your children online. Each section uses real-life examples that introduce you to the various dangers of the internet and what you need to do to stay safe. A fun, interactive quiz at the end of each section will test your knowledge and reinforce what you’ve learned. The course is done in bite-sized chapters, which you can come back to as often as needed. The first lesson will highlight the need for hard to crack, passwords including tips on how to develop a safer password and keys to remember it next time. To start the course, follow this link:

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Password: home course