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Article published - Aug 20, 2007

BANKING: At startup Bank of Napa, travel is among the services

BY Loralee Stevens
STAFF REPORTER

NAPA -– At 1-year-old Bank of Napa you can do your banking – and make travel plans.

Called the Bank of Napa Bon Voyagers Club and open to customers and non-customers "55 and wiser," the unusual program has grown to more than 200 members and more than 300 participants in trips, seminars and social events, according to Coordinator Karoline Hall.

"It's been phenomenal," she said. "People in this time of life want to travel, learn and meet new people, but they don't always know how to get a group together and tackle all the details. That's where I come in."

Ms. Hall has supervised trips to the Gold Country, Yosemite, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga. A planned trip to Italy is nearly sold out.

"We recognized that a portion of the Napa market is maturing," said Executive Vice President Thomas LeMasters.

"We were looking for a way to reach out to these customers in a way that would enrich their lives. This type of social program is a perfect example of what it means to be a community bank."

It's also a good way to attract new customers and broaden the services it provides to current customers, said Ms. Hall.

"Putting themselves into our capable hands for an affordable, well-planned and well-led travel experience builds and deepens loyalty."

Bank of Napa was founded by local business leaders with long-term ties to the region. Its goal is to provide a superior and community-directed level of service to individuals and small and medium-sized businesses.

According to Ms. Hall, the most popular trip so far has been to Santa Catalina.

"We traveled by coach, Jet Blue and boat. Once we got to the island, we even could have traveled by horse if we'd wanted to. It was a wonderful bonding experience," she said.

For information on the Bon Voyage Club, visit http://www.thebankofnapa.com/.