New bank leader to focus on growth, profitability

Delaine Fragnoli
Managing Editor

Mike Taborski

    Plumas Bancorp, a bank holding company and the parent company of Plumas Bank, announced the separation of employment of Douglas N. Biddle, effective March 26. Biddle was the company’s president and chief executive officer. 
    Andrew J. Ryback has been named the interim president and chief executive officer of Plumas Bancorp and Plumas Bank.
    In an interview with this newspaper Friday, April 2, Ryback said his “immediate focus” would be “returning the company to profitability as quickly as possible.”
     In light of the company’s recent announcement of a $9.1 million net loss for 2009, Ryback said the company would reduce salary expenses in 2010 through a combination of attrition and packages for employees considering retirement. Personnel is the company’s biggest expense he said.
    He said the company had “digested” its 2009 losses and was ready to move ahead in 2010.
    The bank’s geographic area “has great opportunities,” Ryback said. He said they have an eye on neighboring communities with struggling institutions that could fit the company’s footprint for future growth.
    Ryback added the company has a responsibility to its customers, employees and shareholders to continue to grow the bank so it will continue to be strong and secure.
    But Plumas Bank remains committed to Plumas County he said. “Our headquarters are here in Quincy. We have about 80 employees in Quincy, and 170 total.”
    “Growth doesn't mean loss of community. Our community-oriented philosophy has not changed,” said B.J. North, executive vice president, and retail banking manager.
    “We continue to offer educational forums, we participate and donate in community events, our executive team is available for face-to-face interaction with community members, we have specialists in agriculture, Small Business Administration and other areas that enhance our services to our communities. Plumas Bank has a touch culture, we communicate and listen to our customers, we understand their needs.”
    At this time, the company has no plans for service changes like those that have occurred in Westwood and Loyalton.
    With a strong deposit base to work from, the company wants to increase its loan business, according to Ryback. “Although it might appear we’re not lending, we are.”
    Plumas Bank does not do home mortgages, but it does offer home equity, construction and commercial loans. The general economic climate — not the quality of the borrower — has hurt the company’s commercial and home equity loan business. The Reno and Lake Almanor markets have been especially hard on commercial and land development loans.
    But Ryback sees reason for optimism: The company, by law, must reassess certain properties every six months; and after months of watching values go down, some have begun to come back up.
    The company also took advantage of the weak real estate market when it purchased a building in Redding that it had been leasing.
    Ryback will take his optimism to the shareholders annual meeting next month. “Our performance has not been acceptable,” he said, and he aims to change that.
    Ryback joined Plumas Bank in 2001. In March 2005, he was appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer of Plumas Bancorp and Plumas Bank. Prior to joining the bank, Ryback held the position of vice president/controller for Placer Sierra Bank in Auburn.
    Ryback received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from California State University–Northridge and was a member of the honorary accounting fraternity Beta Alpha Psi. He is a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School and is also a certified public accountant.
    Ryback is very active in his community; he serves on the board for Sierra Cascade Family Opportunities, an organization that oversees the Head Start and State Pre-School programs of northeastern California. He is also a member of the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department, the Plumas District Hospital Oversight Committee and Toastmasters International.
    Founded in 1980, by a small group of community-minded citizens with a vision, Plumas Bank now operates 13 branches located in the counties of Plumas, Lassen, Sierra, Placer, Nevada, Modoc and Shasta. It also operates a commercial real estate lending office in Reno, Nev.

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