CEO of Oakdale-based bank to retire in June

03/11/2013 2:47 PM

03/11/2013 11:18 PM

Ronald C. Martin, who has led Oak Valley Community Bank for 21 years, has announced plans to retire in June. The bank's president, Christopher M. Courtney, will succeed him.

"After nearly four decades in the industry, I am ready to take a smaller role in the organization and hand the managerial reins to the next generation of leadership," Martin said.

Martin, 66, started his banking career in 1977 and joined Oak Valley as president and chief executive officer in 1992, about a year after the bank launched.

Under his guidance, the bank expanded from a single location to 14 branches in five counties with 139 employees and more than $660 million in assets.

Based in downtown Oakdale, the bank is the only one with its headquarters in Stanislaus County. It was founded with about $3.5 million in investments from Stanislaus businesspeople, but the bank's shares now are publicly traded on Nasdaq (stock symbol OVLY).

Martin will step down as CEO on June 18, then become a director on the boards that oversee the bank and its holding company, Oak Valley Bancorp.

"I look forward to ... continuing to provide insight and guidance to help the company and the bank further along their already successful road," said Martin, who lives in Oakdale.

Courtney told The Bee the public won't notice much difference with the long-planned management shift.

"It will be a very smooth and very well thought-out transition," said Courtney, who has worked with Martin for 17 years and has been the bank's president since 2004.

"We pride ourselves on being pretty boring," Courtney said. "The key for us is to stay conservative and keep moving in the right direction."

James Gilbert, who is the bank's chairman of the board, praised Martin's "conservative approach to growth, which has proven to be the key to Oak Valley's resilience and success."

Oak Valley Bancorp operates Oak Valley Community Bank and Eastern Sierra Community Bank. Oak Valley has branches in Oakdale, Modesto, Turlock, Patterson, Sonora, Ripon, Escalon, Manteca and Stockton. Eastern Sierra has branches in Bridgeport, Mammoth Lakes and Bishop.

Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at or (209) 578-2196.

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