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Berkeley office is first bank in Alameda County to earn “Green Business Certification”

Berkeley, CA—November 17, 2005—The Mechanics Bank’s Downtown Berkeley office has become the first bank in Alameda County to earn the distinction of becoming Green Business Certified. To be certified "green," participants must be in compliance with all regulations and meet high program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste.

A public celebration of the achievement will take place Wednesday, November 30th at 5:30 p.m. at the office located at 2301 Shattuck Avenue. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will deliver a city proclamation honoring the bank.

“As a community bank, we feel a strong obligation to represent the highest standards of business ethics and community stewardship,” said Raudel Wilson, manager of the Berkeley office of The Mechanics Bank. “Our customers and our neighbors here and throughout Alameda County appreciate and value those businesses that make the extra effort to become more eco-friendly.”

To win certification, the bank had to undertake an extensive survey, followed by four rounds of inspections to ensure that the office was in compliance with all requirements for a Green Business.

“This is a win/win for the bank,” Wilson said. “We are not only helping prevent waste and harm to the environment, but we’re also saving money by using resources more wisely.”

Among the ways the bank achieved the distinction of being an ecologically sound business were its measures to prevent pollution, such as using Green Business approved chemicals for cleaning and pest abatement; water conservation resulting in approximately 20 gallons saved per day; energy conservation by using only machines that carry the “Energy Star” label and voluntarily keeping selected lights off, and an ongoing recycling program. The bank also eliminated the use of Styrofoam cups, initiated a recycling program for cardboard, cans and bottles and instituted policies to ensure that unnecessary power usage for computers is curtailed.

The green certification program was developed by Bay Area local governments in collaboration with US EPA, Cal EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control and the business community. The Association of Bay Area Governments coordinates the Program, which is implemented by Green Business Coordinators in 7 participating counties. The regional and local programs are funded by their partners, including local and regional government agencies, utilities, special districts and nonprofit organizations that promote environmental compliance, pollution prevention and resource conservation. Some funding also comes from government and non-profit foundation grants.

So far, over 180 Alameda County businesses and public agencies have formed partnerships with the San Francisco Bay Area Green Business Program.

Headquartered in Richmond, California, The Mechanics Bank celebrates a century of innovative community banking this year. With almost $2.6 billion in assets, it has become one of the largest banks headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Press contacts:
Ms. Hatti Hamlin

Mr. David Louis