Exchange Bank chief to retire, again

  • In the Exchange Bank museum at the company headquarters, Board Chairman Bill Reinking, left and M-L Reinking, Friday March 28, 2014 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

This isn't the first time Bill Reinking has stepped back from the helm at the historic Sonoma County financial institution that figured hugely in the creation of the Golden Gate Bridge and that helps legions of students pay for college.

But Reinking is banking on this retirement being his last.

Friday afternoon, he and his wife and former Santa Rosa schoolmate M-L (Pelganti) Reinking were cleaning out his airy third-floor office at the downtown headquarters of Exchange Bank. She is seldom addressed as Mary-Louise, he rarely as C. William.

Having served previously as the bank's president, Bill Reinking now has packed it in as chairman of the board. The chairmanship has switched to Bill Schrader, who retired earlier this month as president and CEO.

Thinking back on Reinking's run at Exchange Bank causes the former drag-racer, still remarkably boyish at 71, to dig deep. His late father, Charles W. Reinking, was the firm's president and chairman when he got a summer job printing banking forms. That was 54 years ago, right after he graduated from Montgomery High in 1960.

Subsequently, he said, "I worked in every department, except for computers."

Reinking recalls with heightened fondness the years he was a young teller, then manager of the branch at the Montgomery Village shopping center.

"The Village has always been a special place for me," he said. The feeling is mutual: In honor of his and his wife's half-century of service to the bank and the community, the Montgomery Village branch is being renamed the Reinking Office.

Bill Reinking was still at that branch and still coming to the realization that he was destined for a career in banking when his dad, the Exchange Bank president, died of a heart attack in 1969, at just 64.

The two of them never were able to discuss in detail the running of Sonoma County's largest community bank, "one of the voids of my life," the junior Reinking said.

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