Mechanics Bank Strengthens Commercial Lender Teams

Thursday, April 7, 2016

WALNUT CREEK, CA, March 23, 2016– Five seasoned commercial lenders have joined Mechanics Bank as it continues to expand the Real Estate Industries Group’s capabilities. Walter Aozasa joins as a senior relationship manager, and Stephen Cairns, Chris Duffek, and Tom Mitchell will serve as vice presidents and relationship managers. George McCullagh becomes senior vice president and commercial banking regional manager.

Mr. Aozasa brings 22 years banking experience, beginning at GMAC/RFC and including stints at U.S. Bancorp, Bank of America, Washington Mutual and First Horizon/First Tennessee Bank, among others. Most recently, he was vice president, senior real estate industry specialist at Wells Fargo where he was responsible for complex and large size business accounts. He will work out of Mechanics Bank’s Walnut Creek office.

Mr. Cairns, who will be in the group’s Sacramento office, is an accomplished portfolio manager who most recently was a vice present, relationship manager at Chase. He also has held posts at Rabobank and Heritage Bank, both in San Luis Obispo.

Chris Duffek, assigned to the Walnut Creek Office, brings more than 25 years of experience in real estate lending and commercial banking to his new position. He most recently served as a commercial real estate loan officer with Union Bank. He also has held positions at Chase, Sterling Savings, Tokai Bank, and Bank of America, among others.

Mr. Mitchell, assigned to the Walnut Creek Office, most recently spent eight years at Wells Fargo, where he was a vice president in the Community Banking Real Estate Group, focusing on construction, bridge and permanent financing for commercial, multi-family and condominium real estate loans in the Bay Area. His more than 30 years of commercial real estate experience also include posts at Franklin Capital Investments, Riverbank Financial Group, Manulife Financial, Key Bank and Macquarie Bank, and a two-year stint at the FDIC.

Mr. McCullagh has more than 30 years of experience in senior positions at Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Civic Bank of Commerce in Oakland, and First Bank in San Francisco. He will be the Commercial Banking Regional Manager in San Francisco.

“As promised, we are bolstering our commercial banking capabilities,” says Ken Russell, Mechanics Bank CEO. “These five new lenders bring tremendous expertise and we expect to see strong growth in our loan portfolio in the immediate future. With a strong local economy and plenty of capital, we see significant opportunities.”

About Mechanics Bank

About Mechanics Bank Mechanics Bank, established in 1905, is an independent, full service community bank. With more than $3 billion in assets, it is the largest bank headquartered in the Bay Area’s East Bay region. Its 30 branch offices throughout Northern California provide a highly personalized relationship banking experience that includes consumer and business banking services, commercial lending, cash management services, and comprehensive trust and wealth management services. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. For more information go to