ADDRESS: 275 SW 3rd St, Corvallis and 978 NW Circle Blvd, Corvallis
MANAGERS: Bill Humphreys Jr., Vice President & Manager Corvallis Main Branch, and Peg Obrist, Vice President & Manager Circle Branch
YEARS IN BUSINESS: Established October 1957, 56 years
NATURE OF BUSINESS: Financial Institution
Bill and Peg, when and why was Citizens Bank started? Citizens Bank was founded on October 5, 1957 by community leaders who wanted to have a locally owned and operated community bank in Corvallis. After two years of operation, Citizens Bank paid its first dividend to its shareholders on January 2, 1960 and has paid an annual dividend ever since! Over our 56 years in operation, we have expanded our footprint to 13 branch locations in 11 communities throughout the Willamette Valley.
Tell us more about your products and services. We offer a wide range of products and services for both businesses and consumers, but what sets us apart is our culture of relationship banking. As a locally owned commercial lending bank, our commercial loan officers know the communities we serve, the current financial climate of each area, and really get to know you, your business and your industry so we can better help you achieve your goals.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? It is quite an honor to be recognized as the Local Business of the Week! The Corvallis area has so many wonderful businesses that are all so important to our local economy. As a community bank we are owned by individuals who live and work in our marketplace so it is our pleasure to share this with our shareholders and customers.
What does your business do better than anyone else? Our attention to our customer and their business is what sets us apart from the rest. We believe in building a branch around our Branch Managers who are business leaders in their local community. Our loan officers get to know you personally and learn about your business in order to offer you the best products and services to meet your needs.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business? How have you met those challenges? We face many of the same challenges as other local businesses, such as a slumping economy, increasing costs, shrinking margins and strong competition. We have been fortunate in our ability to attract and retain outstanding people that understand the environment that we are in and are committed to our customers’ success. We know that our success is directly attributable to the success of our customers.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis? We strongly believe that the success of local independent businesses in Corvallis is vital to a healthy, stable local economy. When a business takes out a loan or deposits money with us, those dollars are being reinvested back into our community and are helping our local economy become stronger. We are fortunate to have a large, diverse base of local businesses and businesspeople that are doing remarkable things in Corvallis. Everyday we see firsthand the talent, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of this community. Local businesses, working together, help build a strong community.
What do you enjoy most about being a local, independent business in Corvallis? Bill and Peg both agree that the opportunity to build relationships with our customers is what they enjoy most about being a community banker. We are in a unique position to learn about the business operation and the people behind the business. We learn from these businesses every day, partner with them and enjoy their successes. In a small community like ours, our customers are also our friends, neighbors, fellow volunteers, service club members, community leaders…and of course, we are their customers as well. It is captured in our tagline, “Good Business, Good Friends” and is what excites us about working for Citizens Bank.
What is your relationship to the community? What charities/nonprofits/civic organizations do you support and/or participate in? We are involved in each community we serve. In 2012, companywide we donated over 4,000 hours of service in our market areas! In the Corvallis area our employees donated 1,008 hours of service to 19 groups and organizations including United Way, Community Outreach, Kiwanis, Jackson Street Youth Shelter, Lions Club, Willamette Neighborhood Housing Association, Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scouts, Corvallis Public Schools and several more.
How important is sustainability to your business, and what steps have you taken to increase the sustainability of your business? We understand the importance of sustainability as well as focusing on efficiencies. For example, in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint we have reduced the number of courier runs the bank makes to each branch in order to help lower the number of cars on the road and pollution. Last month we were awarded a 2012 Leadership in Greener Purchasing, Honorary Mention from our supply vendor relationship with the Oregon Bankers Association. This award stemmed from the number of purchases made toward green products as well as recycled or remanufactured products. Citizens Bank was one of four honorary mentions in the state of Oregon.
How many people do you employ? We have 151 employees total including 66 in Corvallis.
(Interview and article June 23, 2013)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).