Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:UMPQ), has hired Mark Pearce as senior vice president and manager of its new Central Coast, Calif. commercial agriculture center. A California native and long-time resident of the Central Coast, Pearce has more than 20 years of experience in agricultural finance and is a leading authority in the industry. He has deep knowledge of production agriculture and the region, and will focus on expanding Umpqua’s investments in agriculture and commercial business financing throughout the Central Coast. In addition to serving as a key point of contact for Umpqua Bank’s commercial agriculture clients, Pearce will oversee day-to-day operations of Umpqua’s new agriculture and commercial banking center. The office will provide agriculture and commercial business financing, including operating, equipment and real estate loans for farmers, ranchers and other local businesses. It will be located in Templeton and is slated to open in January of 2013. “Mark is an industry leader in agricultural finance, with deep knowledge of both the industry and the Central Coast, which is one of the country’s most important agricultural regions,” said Cort O’Haver, executive vice president for Umpqua Bank. “Mark adds invaluable expertise to Umpqua’s commercial lending teams and will play a key role as we continue our expansion into California.” Before joining Umpqua Bank, Pearce spent more than 15 years with Farm Credit West on the Central Coast. He was the senior vice president in charge of their Paso Robles office serving nearly 500 area farmers and ranchers. Most recently, he was their regional vice president of agribusiness responsible for Capital Markets sales and purchase transactions along with serving area agribusiness customers. Pearce is a 10-year member of the Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board of San Luis Obispo County, and serves on the board of Chrysalis House, a nonprofit adoption agency in Fresno, Calif.