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Food & Wine

Roundup: Follow your local farmers as the season changes

Roundup: Follow your local farmers as the season changes


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Todd Miner pulls pumpkin pies hot from his traveling oven at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market – and will keep baking at Mountain View’s Sunday market when the Los Altos market season ends Sept. 29.

Only two weeks remain to...

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Your Health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health


Photos courtesy of nadia ghaffari
Months after founding the website TeenzTalk, Ghaffari, second from left, spoke with international teens at the Yale program about methods to overcome stress.

When Nadia Ghaffari went to Yale University this summer ...

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Your Home

Home Brief

Filoli has scheduled a new volunteer recruitment event 9:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 15 at Filoli’s Visitor & Education Center, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside.

Attendees can learn about the many volunteer opportunities at Filoli, including house and gar...

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On The Road

Exploring the Presidio: In and around town in two hybrids

Exploring the Presidio: In and around town in two hybrids


Photos Courtesy of Gary Anderson
Despite the price difference between the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, above, and the Hyundai Sonata the two cars share a number of features.

 

The Presidio of San Francisco has existed as a settlement and milita...

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Senior Lifestyles

Expert offers strategies for seniors intimidated by the gym

Expert offers strategies for seniors intimidated by the gym


Courtesy of Brandpoint
To ward off “gym-timidation,” fitness expert Brian Zehetner encourages seniors to find a workout buddy and start slowly.

No one really relishes the idea of growing older and experiencing the health issues that can accompan...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Banking on women


Photo by Monique Schoenfeld, Town Crier

Mid-Peninsula's CEO Susan Black makes impact on 'man's world'

Banking has changed in the 14 years that Los Altos resident Susan Black has worked in the field. It's not just about mergers and new technology. Black remembers when most women starting businesses used credit cards for financing because they couldn't get a loan.

Banking is generally still a man's world, said Black, who was named president and chief executive officer of Palo Alto-based Mid-Peninsula Bank in March. The appointment made her the first woman CEO to head a bank in the Silicon Valley. She was formerly an executive vice president at Mid-Peninsula. Black was also named to the bank's board of directors.

Black was one of six founding members of Mid-Peninsula in 1987. With three of her fellow founders, she left Crocker Bank following its 1986 merger with Wells Fargo. Their goal with Mid-Peninsula was "to continue to provide old-fashioned personal service without the dictates of a large bank," she said.

Mid-Peninsula's mission struck a chord with customers and investors. "We had $9 million in capital and $20 million in deposits on the day we opened, and were profitable in the first nine months," Black said.

Today, Mid-Peninsula Bank has more than $400 million in assets and offices in Palo Alto, Redwood City and San Mateo. In a 1996 merger of equals with Cupertino National Bancorp, it formed Greater Bay Bancorp, described by American Banker as "a darling of bank analysts."

"In 1994, we looked at our strategy," Black said. "We were at around $250 million in assets, a size when many banks are acquired. We wanted to be large and strong enough to survive as an independent. Our goal is to be the dominant independent force in the Bay Area."

Black describes Greater Bay's strategy as "super community banking." It allows independent banks to achieve economies of scale by centralizing their support services operations. Member banks retain their own identity. "Decision-making, especially as it relates to customers, is made in the individual banks," she said.

Greater Bay also includes Peninsula Bank of Commerce in Millbrae. It recently announced a merger agreement with Pacific Rim Bancorporation, holding company for Golden Gate Bank in San Francisco.

"Our system expands our legal lending limits," Black said, "so client won't outgrow the lending limits of an individual bank."

"We get constant inquiries from other banks" interested in joining their system, Black said.

Last week Greater Bay (NASDAQ: GBBK) announced net earnings of $6.6 million or 67 cents per share for the six month period ended June 30.

Excluding $1.3 million in costs related to the Pacific Rim merger, net earnings for the period would have been $7.9 million, an increase of 36.6 percent over the same period in 1997. It has total assets of $1.5 billion.

Black calls Mid-Peninsula and Greater Bay Bancorp "truly gender blind." But at banking conventions her husband is often the one taken for a bank president, she said.

Her advice to women: "If you take care of your clients and your employees, I think that advancement will come."

"Banking offers wonderful careers for young people today," Black said. "Careers are not just in high-tech. It's gratifying working with clients, helping them be successful."

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