Calls for local businesses to support one another

Richmond, CA, January 22, 2010 -- Edward (“Eddie”) Downer, Chairman of the board of Mechanics Bank, delivered the keynote at the annual Richmond Chamber of Commerce new officer installation dinner and he didn’t pull any punches.

We all need to be more proactive about supporting our fellow Richmond businesses,” Downer told the gathering at the Hotel Mac on January 22nd, referring to recent face-offs between Chevron and environmental groups, as well as to regulatory obstacles to doing business in the city, which has been home to Mechanics Bank for over 100 years.

Downer also urged businesses to partner with Richmond to find ways to save money and improve service delivery to make the city a better place to live and more business-friendly.

“The city could save money and attract and motivate more business expansion simply by reducing the layers of government involved in every permit decision,” he told the group.

Downer took aim at the inequity of how federal tax dollars are spent. “California is 45th out of 50—almost at the bottom—in getting back the money we pay in taxes to the federal government,” he said. “New Mexico gets over $2 for every one dollar sent to Washington. California gets just $.78. If we ranked just 25th, it would mean the return of an additional $50 billion each year to our state.”

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About Mechanics Bank:

For more than a century, Mechanics Bank has been committed to helping people build prosperous communities as a trusted financial partner, forging lasting relationships through teamwork, respect and integrity. The $2.7 billion independent bank, headquartered in Richmond, California, offers personal banking, business banking, trust, brokerage and wealth management services through 33 offices across Northern California. For more information, please visit mechanicsbank.com.

Press contacts:

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Mr. David Louis