When People’s Bank of Commerce opened its doors in Medford in March of 1998, it was committed to providing Rogue Valley residents with a local banking choice that delivered superior one-on-one service in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Nearly nine years later, People’s Bank announces the opening of its permanent Ashland branch at the former Dairy Queen location, 1500 Siskiyou Boulevard. Located at an interim site in downtown Ashland since October 2005, the bank celebrates its opening at the new branch setting January 16-19, 2007.
People’s Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Sickels, who started in community banking 44 years ago, says People’s Bank’s decision to branch from its Medford location to Ashland was spurred by requests from local businesses and residents. “We’re locally owned and operated,” says Sickels, who was recently inducted into the Oregon Bankers Association’s Hall of Fame, for his contributions to Oregon banking and the community. “As a result, our focus in Ashland is on developing products and services that fit the Ashland community, including the financial needs of the city’s many small business owners.”
“As a local bank, we not only work to give people competitive returns on their deposits, we also reinvest those deposits back into the Rogue Valley economy,” adds Bob Rasmussen, Ashland Vice President and Branch Manager.
Most of the Ashland Branch employees, including Rasmussen, Meiwen Richards, Assistant Manager, Julie Reeder, Commercial Loan Officer, and tellers Shannon Neill and Jessica Peterson, are longtime Ashland banking professionals. The bank’s most recent addition is Michael Bianca, Real Estate Loan Officer. The staff is familiar with the Ashland community, and mirror the bank’s values and business philosophy of integrity, sincerity and customer focus. The bank’s goal is to treat customers like family and friends. Employees are empowered to make decisions at the branch and emphasize community involvement.
“Our new branch offers a full array of services, including drive up banking, night depository, ATM, safe deposit boxes, lending and consumer and business banking,” says Richards. “But what we really strive to offer customers is customized service.”
Sickels and President Ken Trautman joined forces in 1998 to create a locally-owned and managed community bank, in response to an increasing merger and acquisition environment among large banks. Today, People’s Bank has grown to $85 million in assets, and the Ashland branch has already surpassed $8 million in deposits.
“It’s grown beyond our expectations,” says Trautman. “Ashland’s customers are such a diverse group of people. Some have families who have been in the area for 100 years. Others moved here two years ago and want to maintain the lifestyle that brought them here. Our bank has products and services that span the diverse needs of Ashland’s residents.
“What’s also enjoyable for all of us is just how much our customers love living in this area. They are truly happy to be here. ”
Before People’s Bank opened its first branch in Ashland, it also added board members with strong Ashland ties, Bob Mayers and Jim Wright. Both Mayers, CEO of Ashland-based Adroit Construction, and Wright, Vice Chairman of LTM and Ashland High graduate, were instrumental in selecting the location for People’s Bank, as well as providing strategic insight and direction.
The branch was designed by Ashland architect Ray Kistler. He designed the building to be a bank that doesn’t need signage to identify it as a community bank, and will stand the test of time. Ashland interior designer, Melody Stewart, strived to give the branch a welcoming feel by combining natural elements among the bank’s functional features.
The grand opening celebration for People’s Bank’s Ashland branch January 16-19, will highlight its products and services, and feature a drawing for prizes, including a trip to Brookings, and a Valentine’s dinner & luxury suite package at the Winchester Inn. “We also have a freezer stocked full of Dairy Queen memorabilia,” says Rasmussen.
For more information about the Ashland branch of People’s Bank of Commerce, please contact 541-482-3886.