American River Bankshares Recognized Nationally as a Top-Performing Company

Sacramento, CA, July 12, 2005 – American River Bankshares , the parent company of American River Bank, has been recognized as a top-performing small-cap company by U.S. Banker Magazine and Sandler O’Neill & Partners.

U.S. Banker placed American River Bankshares as number thirty-five in their annual performance ranking (July 2005) “Top Publicly Traded Community Banks”.  The magazine includes banks and thrifts with assets under $1 billion and ranks each company by their three-year average rate of return on equity. 

Sandler O’Neill & Partners identified American River Bankshares as one of thirty-eight all stars in their Bank and Thrift Sm-All Stars – Class of 2005.  To earn Sm-All Star status, companies needed to be at or above the peer median in eight fundamental financial variables.  Each company included in the class delivers nearly two times the level of loan, deposit and earnings growth of the industry over the past twelve months, while simultaneously maintaining pristine credit quality metrics and a return on equity that ranks in the top quartile for the industry. 

“The continued diligence of our seasoned and innovative team is truly the cornerstone to our success as a company,” said David Taber, president and CEO of American River Bankshares.  “Our concentration on providing financial solutions and exceptional service in our communities has served our clients and investors well.”

Additionally, American River Bankshares recently announced its inclusion in the June launch of the Russell Microcap Index by the Russell Investment Group.  The new index was created to track the performance of a universe of 2,000 small-cap companies and offers investors a genuine marketplace of microcap stocks in which to identify opportunities.

About U.S. Banker Magazine

U.S. Banker is written for financial institutions of all sizes, from community banks with a $1 billion or less in assets or money-center banks with more than $100 billion in assets. Monthly coverage in the magazine includes Asset Management, Community Banking, Corporate & Institutional Banking, Customer Acquisition & Retention Strategies, Debit & Credit Cards, Marketing, Branding &Advertising, M&A, Mortgage, Regulation & Policy, Retail Banking, Risk Management, Small Business and Technology.

About Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.P.

Founded in 1988, Sandler O'Neill & Partners is a full-service investment banking firm dedicated to providing comprehensive, innovative advisory and transaction execution services to the financial industry. The firm specializes in strategic business planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, mutual-to-stock conversions, investment portfolio and interest rate risk management, fixed income securities transactions and mortgage finance restructurings. Sandler O’Neill also is a market maker in hundreds of financial stocks and publishes equity and fixed income research focused on selected banks, thrifts and insurance companies, credit card companies, investment banks, asset managers, specialty finance companies, e-finance companies and transaction execution companies. Additional information about Sandler O’Neill can be found on the firm’s Web site at www.sandleroneill.com.

About American River Bankshares

American River Bankshares is the parent company of American River Bank (ARB), a community business bank serving Sacramento, CA that operates a family of financial services providers, including North Coast Bank [a division of ARB] in Sonoma County and Bank of Amador [a division of ARB] in Amador County.  For more information, please call 916-565-6100 or visit www.amrb.com, www.americanriverbank.com, www.northcoastbank.com or www.bankofamador.com.

Media Contact:
Diana Walery
Corporate Communications
American River Bankshares
916-231-6117

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