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County Bank lays off 20 employees

County Bank laid off about 20 employees Tuesday, the first time the 31-year-old company has been forced to cutback on staffing.

Bank spokesman Thomas Smith, noting the bank’s parent company’s $12 million loss last quarter, said the decision was due solely to the troubled Valley economy.

"It was a very, very tough business decision that has been percolating for a while," he explained Wednesday. "It's been 'what-if'd' to death."

No job type or branch was targeted in the layoffs, which represent less than 5 percent of the bank's workforce of 500. The eliminated jobs, some part-time, were in cities scattered across the state.

County Bank is owned by Capital Corp. of the West, the only company headquartered in Merced that's traded on the NASDAQ.