It may be over, but 2017 was quite a year for your Community Bank. In December, we took time to celebrate several of these achievements at our annual Employee Appreciation Party. Since our customers are a critical component to the Bank’s success, we’d better share some of these accomplishments with you. It’s your business and loyalty that allow us to bring our brand of community banking to Northeastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington. Here are a few high points:
Community Bank topped $400,000,000 in total assets. Seasonality causes this number to fluctuate, but during the fourth quarter we surpassed the $400M milestone for the first time. Quite an achievement, when just 25 years ago the Bank’s assets were less than $20,000,000. Remember, as a Community Bank customer, your funds are directly re-deployed in the form of loans and investments into our communities. So on behalf of your community, and your Community Bank, thank you for keeping your funds local.
We celebrated our communities and customers. Our branches hosted eleven Customer Appreciation BBQs, which were attended by over 5,000 customers. Community Bank does not farm out or subcontract any of the work associated with these events. We set-up, prepare, cook and serve everything ourselves. Two things Community Bankers take very seriously are customer service and food. Why not have the best of both worlds, and put out an amazing spread to recognize our customers?
Community Bankers were recognized for their leadership. Several of our folks were recognized by their respective communities for excellence. Kathy Bonney (Branch Manager, Elgin) was named Woman of the Year by the Elgin Chamber of Commerce. Samantha Vinti (Branch Manager, Milton-Freewater) was named Junior Citizen of the Year in Milton-Freewater. Sandi Rowe (AVP, Business Development, Walla Walla) was named Volunteer of the Year by the Exchange Club of Walla Walla. Well done, ladies!
We will always give back. Our charity drive had another record year at almost $27,000 in donations to area non-profits. Our employees continue to dedicate a considerable number of volunteer hours to help make our communities stronger. One effort in particular was helping with the City Park Project in Joseph. Built entirely by members of the community, along with 10 of your Community Bankers, the result was the construction of an impressive new City Park. If you haven’t seen it, please check it out the next time you’re in Joseph.
So that’s a small glimpse at our report card for 2017. We’re always looking for ways to further improve Community Bank, so if you have any questions or comments for us, please contact us via our website, by Facebook, or by visiting one of our branches. We want our report card to be even better this year. Good luck in 2018!
ICBA and Community Bank Offer Tips for Establishing and Maintaining Good Credit
Washington, D.C. (February, 2018)—When establishing financial fitness goals, the Independent Community Bankers of America and Community Bank want to remind customers: it’s easier to build a credit score than to repair a bad one.
“Having a good credit history is key to any financial plan,” said Kirk Amick, EVP/Chief Credit Officer, of Community Bank. “Credit scores take into consideration years of past behavior, so it’s important to establish a history of responsible credit practices and build your score by maintaining good habits.”
The following are tips to help build and maintain good credit.
If you are just beginning to establish your credit history, open a checking account and keep careful track of your balance.
- Use debit and credit cards for convenience and safety, but not to overspend. Missed or late payments damage your credit and hurt your credit score.
- A good mix of credit (e.g., a revolving credit line and an installment loan) also boosts your credit score and further demonstrates that you can manage different types of credit.
- Demonstrate stability in the three to six months before a major purchase. Avoid opening or closing accounts or moving large amounts of money around.
- Build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. If the unexpected happens, you will still be able to pay fixed expenses instead of falling behind.
- Alter your credit focus as you approach lifecycle stages. As you near retirement, for example, start paying down major purchases (such as a mortgage).
- Monitor your credit regularly so you can correct any errors and detect any potential signs of identity theft. Order a copy of your credit report annually from www.annualcreditreport.com.
“Establishing good spending and saving habits, and sticking with them, is critical when times are tough and can go a long way toward helping you achieve your financial goals,” said Scott Heitkamp, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of ValueBank Texas in Corpus Christi, Texas. “Your local community bank can serve as a great resource to help maintain good credit, which will serve as the foundation for a more secure financial future.”
Our fall charitable activities were a huge success thanks to all who contributed candy or cash to our two projects.
For the first year of our Candy Buy Back Program, we were astounded at the amount we collected. Many people donated candy rather than accepting the pay out we were offering. This generosity helped collect 915 pounds of candy to be packaged and sent to active duty troops.
Our Annual Charity Drive in November and December continues to grow, with another record year of over $27,000 going to charities in the region during the holidays.
The statistics on personal savings are alarming. About 40 percent of Americans have no savings at all, and about 57 percent have less than $1,000 saved. In order to be able to weather an emergency, it is suggested to have 3 to 6 months of your regular income saved.
We created the Win-Win CD as a way to encourage everyone to save. With a minimum opening deposit of just $25, we hope that more customers* can get in on the fun.
After one full year of the monthly drawings, we drew our annual winner, Diane Mitchell of Enterprise. She was awarded $1,000.
Effective for 2018, the monthly drawings are going up to $200 (from $100) and the annual drawings will be $2,500! Ask your local banker for more details or visit our Win-Win page online at www.communitybanknet.com.
*Restrictions apply. Full Details.
The 4th Annual Traveling HAMilton $1,000 Photo Contest will take place again this June. Entry period is from June 1st through June 28th. Four weekly winners will be vying for the most votes via the contest app on Facebook.
Before you head out on a spring trip, be sure to stop by your local branch to pick up a pink HAMilton to bring along for the ride. More details about entering will be posted to the Community Bank Facebook page and to our website later this spring.
Photo: HAMilton visits Machu Picchu in Peru with Teresa Stratton in 2017.
Rather than featuring just one business in our newsletters, this year, we’re moving towards a more expansive feature, highlighting our business customers with major news throughout our footprint. If you are a business customer owner or manager with some exciting new change to your business, please send info to email@example.com to have your news considered for our next newsletter.
A well-known Eastern Oregon business, Terminal Gravity, opened an experimental brewery and pub in October. East Fork Brewery is located at 600 N Main Street in Joseph.
Billybob’s Butcher Shop opened in the fall at 45 S 14th Ave in Elgin. They do custom meat and wild game processing, retail meats and smoking.
Help us welcome H & H Sports & Loan as a new customer. Locally owned and family operated for over 50 years, H & H offers a variety of items from electronics to jewelry. Stop by to check them out at 203 W Alder Street in Walla Walla.
Sugar Time Bakery in Enterprise has relocated to 107 N River Street and expanded their offerings.
Walla Walla Indian Cuisine opened their doors on Main Street this fall. Since then, rave reviews have been posted on their Facebook page, on Google, and Yelp. They are located at 12 E Main Street, Walla Walla.
Joseph’s Simply Sandy’s has new ownership. Jill McClarran and Emily Cunningham took over operations in the fall.
Check out the new restaurant and retail store, The Dog Spot, at 19 S Main Street in Joseph.