When passing by Luther Burbank Savings' new headquarters in downtown Santa Rosa, don't bother looking for the ATM kiosk.
It doesn't have one.
The rectangular building with the cherry-colored wood exterior will open for business Monday, the latest sign of growth at Sonoma County's largest locally based financial company.
Luther Burbank's expansion during the past three decades has come by taking a road less traveled. Seventy percent of its savings reside in certificates of deposit, a much higher rate than typical banks or credit unions. And for many years its loan business has concentrated on multi-family housing projects, which performed better than other real estate sectors during the housing market meltdown.
"We're not all things to all people," said Vic Trione, chairman of the board and one of the bank's three shareholders. "We don't have credit cards or car loans."
Or ATMs. Instead, the company issues debit cards and rebates the fees that its depositors are charged from other banks' cash machines around the world.
"It's really much more efficient for us to just use everyone else's ATMs," said John Biggs, Luther Burbank's president and CEO.
For its first 29 years, Luther Burbank's Santa Rosa branch sat in a nondescript building near Fourth and E streets. In time, the company expanded into two adjacent offices and eventually added branch offices elsewhere in the Bay Area and Southern California.
On Monday, its will open its new flagship branch at Third and B streets, joining Exchange Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and five other banks that sit within a block of Old Courthouse Square, the center of downtown.
"Our signage will be the first thing people see when they come into the downtown," said Biggs.
The company has $3.7 billion in assets. The only larger local financial institution is the $6 billion American AgCredit, a Santa Rosa cooperative that is part of the nation's farm credit system.
After its first three months of operation in 1983, Luther Burbank became profitable and never posted another losing quarter. It recorded profits through the Great Recession and beyond, and for the first nine months of the year reported net income of $52 million. That amount, unlike the profit figures reported for many banks, is before taxes.
The company has succeeded with a "distinctly different business model," said Fred Ptucha, who tracks local community banks and is an adviser at Financial West Group in Santa Rosa. Its strategy includes offering slightly higher interest rates on CDs and slightly lower rates for large real estate borrowers.
"We're going to pay a little more, charge a little less and run a very lean machine," Ptucha said of the lender's thinking.
Luther Burbank's approach shows up in its physical locations. It has just eight branches, four in the Bay Area and four in Southern California.
Compare that to the county's other two big local banking institutions. Redwood Credit Union has 18 branches and $2.1 billion in assets. Exchange Bank has 19 branches and $1.6 billion in assets.
Those two entities take a different approach, offering a broad array of services to both individuals and businesses. Local banking executives said Burbank has a reputation for success through specialization.
"When you do a couple of things and you do them very well, you can be very efficient," said Brett Martinez, president and CEO of Redwood Credit Union.