Farmers & Merchants Bank (FMBL) in Long Beach, Calif., has hired a chief banking officer, filling a newly created post.

The $5.1 billion-asset company said in a press release Friday that Kathryn Gonzales will be responsible for retail and sales strategies. She will specialize in expanding core accounts and cultivating deeper relationships with important clients, working with all 23 of the company's branches.

Gonzalez recently served as senior vice president of retail banking at Provident Bank in Riverside, Calif. She has also held posts at Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of the West and Citizens Business Bank.

"We couldn't be more pleased to add [Gonzalez] to our executive management team, as her career in banking is truly exceptional and includes a keen strategic vision combined with hands-on leadership," Farmers & Merchants President W. Henry Walker said in the release. "We are embarking on new initiatives and planning for further growth in the century ahead, so a larger leadership team will play a very key role."

Farmers & Merchants hired chief operating officer Melissa Lanfre in August.

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