When Exchange Bank pays a dividend, the benefits go beyond the ordinary sort of shareholder.
A trust owns 51% of the bank, and its main beneficiary is Santa Rosa Junior College in its hometown, north of San Francisco.
The college's share of dividends goes for scholarships. This year's share was $3.2 million - more than a third of the bank's 1995 earnings.
The trust fund was set up in 1950 by Frank P. Doyle, the bank's second president.
Since then it has awarded scholarships totaling more than $22 million to 39,000 junior college students.
Actually, Mr. Doyle's main concern was that Santa Rosa's Doyle Park, named in his honor, be maintained.
"He left to the city $2,000, what was then two-thirds of the trust, to maintain the park. Any income above $2,000 was to go to the school," said C. William Reinking, president and chief executive of $630 million-asset Exchange Bank.
"It's ironic that his original idea was to take care of the park, but what he really did was take care of the city."
Mr. Reinking says he thinks the scholarship fund is the largest of its kind in the country. Only county residents are eligible, so the program doesn't get much play outside the Santa Rosa area, which has about 250,000 residents.
The scholarship has been a boon to the school, he said. "Santa Rosa Junior College is, because of us and the support of their alumni, probably one of the top 10 endowed junior colleges in the nation."
Santa Rosa Junior College has nearly 5,000 full-time students and a 25,000 part-timers, including many nontraditional students. Scholarship winners also receive free checking from the bank.
As long as the bank is profitable, there's no danger that the scholarship fund will fall victim to outside interests.
Because the trust owns 51% of the bank's stock and cannot sell it, there's no chance a larger institution could come in and take bank over.