Rabobank El Centro
Unlike many bank mergers, the $2.1 billion acquisition of Rabobank NA by Mechanics Bank, effective Tuesday, September 4, won’t see much consolidation.

That’s because the deal makes the smaller Walnut Creek-based Mechanics Bank a much larger bank, with assets jumping from about $6 billion to more than $17 billion.

Prior to the merger, Mechanics had 44 branches and Rabobank had 100. As of Tuesday, the combined bank has 144 branches and no plans to close any of them, said Mechanics spokesman Greg Jones, who had previously been spokesman for Rabobank NA.

In addition to the bank branches, the combined bank will keep a large office in Roseville, which had been Rabobank’s headquarters.

“We will maintain a presence here,” Jones said. Rabobank is focused on business banking, as well as retail and commercial business. The Mechanics Bank merger didn’t include Rabobank’s substantial California food and agribusiness loans and other assets, which earlier this summer transferred to its affiliate, St. Louis-based Rabo AgriFinance.

The two banks have little to no overlap of branches across the state, Jones said.

Rabobank entered California by buying Valley Independent Bank in El Centro in 2002, which it followed with 18 more acquisitions over the next 16 years in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, Imperial Valley, along the Central Coast and in the Sacramento Valley.

Mechanics Bank, which started in Richmond, built its operations in the Bay Area.

The California-licensed Rabobank NA was an independent subsidiary of the Dutch agricultural banking giant Rabobank. Rabobank NA moved its executive headquarters to Roseville in 2006, and it formally moved the California bank’s headquarters to Roseville in 2010.

At $17 billion in assets, the bank is well-positioned in the market to be able to make large loans, take on more customers, and still offer customer service, Jones said. “We are filling in the void between the large national banks and community banks.”

John DeCero, formerly CEO of Mechanics Bank, and Mark Borrecco, formerly CEO of Rabobank NA, now serve as co-CEOs. 

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