Banking Matters Spring 2021

Page 14


An Attractive Place to Do Business for Washington Banks By Tom Unger, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA


f the 37 banks that belong to the Oregon Bankers Association (OBA), seven of them – about 20% – are based in Washington. We were able to reach executives from six of them and ask three questions:

Some of the banks entered the Oregon market through acquisition. Others opened their own de novos. Regardless of how they started doing business in Oregon, their reasons for doing so are quite similar. Here’s what they told us:

1) What attracts a Washington-based bank to do business in Oregon? 2) Do you have any concerns about conducting business in Oregon? 3) What benefit does your bank derive from its OBA membership?

Bank of the Pacific “Our bank has been doing business in Oregon for 18 years,” said President and CEO Denise Portmann. “We started with a loan office near Seaside as we were attracting commercial Oregon customers on the coast.” Denise Portmann

“The OBA does a great job promoting banking within Oregon,” said Portmann. “It also provides educational opportunities to help our employees stay connected to peers and remain knowledgeable about the industry.” Rodewald serves on the OBA’s Lending Committee, which gives him insights into the current legislative issues in Oregon, he said.

Since then it has opened locations in Warrenton, Eugene and Salem. “There continues to be a lot of opportunity for growth,” she said. Regarding concerns, she pointed to the political climate and increasing regulations. But the business opportunity overshadows them, she said.

Mark Rodewald

Both Portmann and Mark Rodewald, the bank’s regional commercial banking manager in Eugene, praised the OBA’s advocacy efforts.

Banner Bank

Bank of the Pacific’s Warrenton branch.

through,” said Purcell, who has served on several OBA committees over the years.

This bank entered Oregon in 1996 by acquiring Inland “Linda Navarro and her team are expert influencers. They represent Empire Bank in Hermiston, said Cindy Purcell of our industry fairly with legislators,” said Purcell. “I’ve never Walla Walla, the bank’s EVP of retail banking and administration. It was the first of multiple acquisitions encountered a [bankers association] team that’s better.” in Oregon. Cindy Purcell

“Like Washington, Oregon has great diversity in geography, business climate and opportunity for small and mid-size companies,” Purcell said. Her biggest concern about doing business here is the same she has elsewhere: the impact of public policy changes on the bank’s ability to serve customers. “That’s why our involvement with the OBA is so important, so we can help our legislators understand the impact of changes they are trying to push



Banner Bank’s La Grande branch.

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