SOURCE: Fremont Bank

February 20, 2007 14:00 ET

Fremont Bank Replaces Courier Fleet With Environmentally Friendly Prius Hybrid Cars

New Gas Saving Vehicles Accelerate Bank Program of 'Clean' Business Practices

FREMONT, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 20, 2007 --Couriers for Fremont Bank (www.fremontbank.com) log between 2,500 and 3,000 miles each per month as they go about picking up and delivering documents between the bank and its customers using bank-owned vehicles.

But since December, each of the bank's six couriers have been navigating the streets and freeways of the Bay Area in a more environmentally friendly ride -- the Prius Hybrid car -- reducing costs to both the planet and the bank.

Fremont Bank, which prides itself on being the Bay Area's most progressive full-service community bank, has for years provided free door-to-door courier service for its business customers, a benefit most banks do not provide for free. Now, as the bank's drivers make their daily rounds, they're doing it much more cleanly in cars that emit 80 percent less carbon dioxide than standard internal combustion vehicles.

The move accelerates the bank's overall program of "clean business" practices by lowering the environmental impact on communities where it operates, notes Kevi Grier, director of Central Operations and Logistics Services for Fremont Bank.

"Being a community committed bank, we always consider as part of our strategic planning the impact of our operations on the neighborhoods where we do business," Grier says. "There are powerful business reasons and financial incentives for companies to operate more cleanly, but the most powerful incentive is that of doing our part to stabilize global warming and reduce all our impacts to the environment."

Each Prius gets more than 45 miles per gallon in highway driving and more than 50 miles per gallon in city driving, versus about 30 miles per gallon for highway driving and 26 miles per gallon for city driving for the previous fleet says Raymond Mallonee, procurement manager for Fremont Bank. "We're already experiencing significant savings of nearly $1,000 per month in gasoline and we were able to secure commuter lane passes for each driver, so we're saving big on both time and money," Mallonee says.

Mallonee adds that the bank was also able to secure federal tax credits for each vehicle and got a volume discount for purchasing multiple vehicles. Moreover, the four-door sedan vehicles are safer. "Each car is equipped with both front and side air bags," Mallonee notes. "The drivers like them better because of the added safety features," Mallonee adds that the bank also equipped each vehicle with other protective bells and whistles such as alarms that sound when drivers are backing up.

Making Every Day Earth Day

As Earth Day rolls around again next month, corporations and media will be creating more intensive awareness of global warming and other environmental problems and demonstrating solutions to some of those problems. But while this is a positive event, the key is systematic, relentless effort and daily awareness of how to create and implement clean business practices, notes Grier.

"Every day should be Earth Day," says Grier. "Fremont Bank takes clean business practices very seriously, so for us it's a daily thing that permeates our culture."

Putting hybrid cars into service is part of an overall program of sustainable business practices that Fremont Bank implements and continues to build upon, mentions Grier, who points out that the bank's efforts in recycling, reusing and reducing consumption, are "very entrepreneurial in terms of what we're willing to try.

"Because we're not a big institution we are very nimble and we can try new ways of doing things without a huge cost impact," says Grier. She cites as one example, the recent elimination of the print version of the bank's employee publication. "We created an employee Intranet that enabled us to not only eliminate many thousands of paper copies of the publication, but also enhanced the employee experience by including interactive capabilities by moving the publication online. It cost us very little and saved tree fiber."

Other areas where Fremont Bank excels in reuse, recycling and reduction include:

Paper recycling -- Last year Fremont Bank shredded and recycled just under 185 tons of paper, saving approximately 3,139 trees, according to a recycling vendor that works with Fremont Bank. Fremont Bank is in the midst of a six-year initiative to convert to a paperless business environment. The bank also enhances customer privacy and security by recycling paper. All of the bank's employees place all printed matter into specially secured containers that are picked up daily and shredded by a certified recycling vendor which also implements tight security.

Cartridge/Toner recycling -- In 2006, Fremont Bank recycled nearly 1,000 fax, copier, and printer cartridges, and 20 fax machines and computer printers, diverting about 3,500 pounds of toxic waste from landfills.

Water and Electricity -- Programs for highly energy efficient workspace lighting and water saving devices for company facilities, from gardens to restrooms, are either in operation or being implemented in the near future. Last year, the bank saved nearly 1.3 million gallons of water and three-quarters of a million kilowatts of electricity through these programs.

Waste and Toxics -- Partnering with a recycling vendor, Fremont Bank also saved nearly 600 cubic yards of waste and recycled about 126,000 gallons of oil.

Computer recycling -- Last year, the bank recycled more than 200 desk and laptop computers, which are refurbished by a vendor and placed back into service in other companies, or the parts removed and the plastic shells ground to be used as recycled plastic. Used cell phones and desktop phones are also recycled.

Check Imaging -- As an institution, Fremont Bank has been at the forefront of check imaging, the practice of digitally storing check images, with an eye toward creating a paperless statement for customers. The bank currently images and stores not only checks, but also other documents.

About Fremont Bank

Fremont Bank (www.fremontbank.com) is the leading full-service community bank in Northern California. Founded in 1964, Fremont Bank is one of the oldest independent family owned and managed banks in the region and focuses on personalized service for individuals and businesses. It serves communities through 24 branches and 4 additional ATMs throughout the Greater Bay Area. Exceptional client service is the cornerstone of Fremont Bank's business. Accommodation of customer needs in a friendly, personal atmosphere characterize the bank's culture.

Contact Information

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