RICHMOND, CA, January 27, 2009--Caroline Sjostedt, a seasoned real estate lender with nearly a quarter century of experience, has joined Mechanics Bank as the new manager of the Real Estate Industries Group. Her office will be in the bank's East Bay Regional Lending Group headquarters in Walnut Creek, California.

“Caroline's deep knowledge of the complexities unique to the real estate industries has always impressed me," said Cort O'Haver, Executive Vice President and Division Manager of Corporate Banking. "Especially in this challenging environment for growth and profitability, it's great to have the leadership of a consummate professional."

Ms. Sjostedt began her career in the mid-1980s with Union Bank’s Real Estate Industries Group. Her twelve years there were followed by six years as a senior manager in the Real Estate Division at U.S. Bank, then three years as the Real Estate Bank Group Marketing Director for Bank of the West. Her most recent assignment was as Senior Vice President and Manager of the Income Property Group for KeyBank Real Estate Capital, leading a team of real estate professionals marketing a wide variety of real estate loans.

A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Caroline also holds a Masters of Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento. She is a board member of the San Francisco Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and a member of the East Bay Chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women. Ms. Sjostedt also is active in community organizations such as Girl Scouts and Shelter, Inc. (a non-profit providing housing services in Contra Costa County).

Ms. Sjostedt resides in Lafayette with her husband and three children.

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

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