Article in Oregon Business
By Jay Shenai
October 8, 2018
Oregon Pacific Bank breaks ground for a new way of banking.
A new branch for Oregon Pacific Bank is opening in Eugene just in time for the holidays. The opening of the 59 E. 11th Street location, targeted for early December, sends a signal of the bank’s commitment to partner with the community and its local businesses.
Until then, please pardon the construction.
According to Ellen Huntingdon, Marketing Coordinator for the Florence-based bank, work in the new building began in earnest this past summer. Walls and carpets were torn out for a complete interior redesign in late August.
“The building interior is going through a fairly extensive and much-needed face-lift.” Huntingdon said.
Local firms McKenzie Commercial Contractors, Inc. and Rowell Brokaw Architects were brought in to do the job, which involved removal of office doors, adding of storefront windows, and new everything: new carpet, new floor tiles, new teller rows, new conference rooms, and a new kitchen.
“What we want to do is really lighten up the space, both for our clients and for staff working there,” she said.
When it opens its doors, the flagship branch will have a drive-through teller window and a deposit-taking ATM, as well as a night-drop deposit box. The branch will be well equipped to offer comprehensive banking services, but will focus on its core strategies of providing business banking solutions, trust services and wealth management.
“We will be able to cater to the entirety of the financial life cycle, whether community members are looking to retire, looking to open a business, or are somewhere in between,” Huntingdon said.
The new branch building is part of a response to recent industry mergers and acquisitions that left the Eugene and Springfield markets without two of its locally based banking institutions, according to Ron Green, Bank President and CEO.
In early 2015, the Florence-based Siuslaw Financial Group and Bank was purchased by Banner Corporation to merge with Banner Bank. And in November of 2017, a deal to purchase Pacific Continental Bank was finalized by Columbia Bank.
“The mergers left a void in the Eugene-Springfield area, and created a niche for the services of an additional community bank,” Green said. “One with decisions made in the local area, one inherently invested in the success of the community.”
“Because we’re [headquartered] in the Lane County area, the local economic and social infrastructure must be strong for us to succeed,” Green said.
“We’re committed to the success of the communities we serve, all in,” he said.
A thirty-nine year old bank, it opened its Eugene branch in 2015 as a trust and loan production office on the 6th floor of the Citizen’s Building on Oak Street, and expanded in 2016 into full-service banking. The recent mergers created opportunity that the bank wanted to seize upon. Additional capital was raised in 2017, which led to the hiring of more than a dozen local banking professionals from one of the institutions that merged with an out-of-state company. The expansion far outpaced the capacity of the original office space.
“The need for additional space presented us the opportunity to pursue a location that had improved visibility and easy access for our clients,” Huntingdon said. “It was the perfect time to reach out and make that next step to grow into our own building.”
One of the exciting opportunities a larger presence in the Eugene area presents is the ability to offer a greater amount of support to local area nonprofit organizations. Since its founding in 1979, Oregon Pacific Bank has been a strong partner and resource for community organizations, from flexible lending structures and monetary donations, to utilizing their workforce for volunteer activities.
“We have an active culture of caring at Oregon Pacific Bank, in that we encourage our employees to participate and volunteer within the communities we serve,” said Huntingdon. “As part of our benefits package, we offer our employees one hour a week to volunteer during their paid work schedule and in addition to that many of our employees also serve on local nonprofit boards and committees.”
This mission of caring for the community aligns well with the bank’s day-to-day business, one that Oregon Pacific Bank hopes will have a direct impact on the economic strength of Eugene area business owners.
“The deposits that we collect in the Eugene market we turn around and invest right back into the businesses in the Eugene area,” Huntingdon said.
It’s part of what makes Oregon Pacific Bank unique, according to Huntingdon. “Our mission is to work together with our partners to make their future better,” she said.
“We will do that in a way that’s anything but ordinary.”
When completed, the branch will also be one of the only banks in the area to also offer in-house wealth management that includes estate planning and the ability to settle estates after the passing of a loved one.
“That’s a tremendous value, many don’t often realize,” Green said. “We’re very proud of the ability to take care of our local families in a time that they are in true need of unbiased and objective financial assistance.”
In the meantime, the bank will continue to prepare for the opening of their new Eugene branch, currently planned for early December, according to Green.
“Be on the lookout for several HGTV-inspired Web videos sharing the progress of the new office,” Huntingdon said, “in addition to some editions of the bank’s video series, #AskTheBanker, shot on location.”
Anticipate an open house event and a ribbon cutting, as well as other community events yet to be determined, according to Green.
“We welcome the Eugene community to come and visit once our new branch is open,” Green says, “and prepare for a different kind of banking experience!”