Local banks dominate: National banks at bottom of Jefferson County market share report

Allison Arthur aarthur@ptleader.com
Posted 2/21/17

For the first time in 20 years, the top three banks with the most market share of depositors in Jefferson County can be defined as local, Washington-based banks, not national institutions.

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Local banks dominate: National banks at bottom of Jefferson County market share report

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For the first time in 20 years, the top three banks with the most market share of depositors in Jefferson County can be defined as local, Washington-based banks, not national institutions.

It’s a milestone that bankers and advocates for going local find fascinating, but not surprising.

Kitsap Bank, headquartered in Port Orchard, First Federal Savings and Loan Bank, based in Port Angeles, and 1st Security Bank of Washington, based in Lynnwood, were ranked in first, second and third place, respectively, in Jefferson County in market share in June 2016, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), which gathers the information and typically releases the data several months later “after it’s crunched,” said an FDIC spokesperson.

Kitsap Bank had 22.58 percent of the market share with $113 million in deposits. First Federal Savings and Loan Association was right behind it with 21.66 percent of the share and $108.5 million in deposits. In third place was 1st Security Bank of Washington, which had 13 percent of the market share and $65 million in deposits. First Security acquired the Olympic Peninsula holdings of Bank of America in January 2016.

A year earlier, Bank of America had held 22.99 percent of the market share in Jefferson County as of June 30, 2015 with $112 million in deposits. First Security lost almost half of those deposits when it took over in January 2016, but still managed to stay as one of the top three.

Wells Fargo & Company, U.S. Bank and JPMorgan Chase & Co., all national-based banks, have market shares of roughly 12 percent each as of June 2016, half of what Kitsap Bank and First Federal enjoy, according to the FDIC.

By contrast, in all of Washington state, Bank of America still holds the no. 1 spot with 21 percent of the market share and 172 offices, while Wells Fargo is in second place with 12 percent of the state market share and 160 branches. JPMorgan Chase is in third place overall in the state with 10.6 percent of the market share and 204 offices, according to the June 30, 2016 FDIC report.

LOTS OF CHOICES

Local bankers are thrilled with their rise to dominance in Jefferson County.

“There are a lot of choices in banking, and we’re grateful for the trust and confidence folks have invested in Kitsap Bank,” said Steve Politakis, Kitsap Bank’s chief executive officer. “We love this community and we have a great staff that works hard to earn that trust.

“We’re invested in Jefferson County, and looking to the long term here,” Politakis said.

Kitsap Bank has three branches here – Port Townsend, Port Hadlock and Port Ludlow. It is the most branches of any of the banks doing business in Jefferson County.

Kitsap is refurbishing its headquarters on Sims Way in Port Townsend. Its commercial lending team has moved next door to a building that had been a Coldwell Banker office for years until it closed during the Great Recession.

Joy Balstad is the new manager of Kitsap Bank’s branch in Port Townsend. She said the existing Kitsap Bank office is set to be remodeled and once it is, then the the commercial loan officers would move back into that facility.

“We are looking forward to providing a more streamlined and efficient banking experience for our Port Townsend customers in an attractive and newly updated building,” said Shannon Childs, Kitsap Bank senior vice president marketing director.

Kitsap estimates it has invested more than $150,000 in the past five years to support a number of nonprofits in Jefferson County, including Centrum, Dove House Advocacy Services, Jumping Mouse Children’s Center, Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County and the Port Townsend Main Street Program.

VALUABLE METRICS

“Market share is one of the most valuable metrics in judging the effectiveness of our efforts,” said Jeanine Lee, vice president and marketing manager of First Federal Savings and Loan Bank, a 94-year-old bank based in Port Angeles. “Our increasing market share proves that we are on track with customer satisfaction, brand awareness, loyalty, customer acquisition and growth.”

Lee said employees at the Port Townsend branch are passionate about community and have a “deep sense of appreciation and responsibility in working towards improving the life and experience of others.

“As the only local financial institution headquartered on the Olympic Peninsula, we pride ourselves on the success that we have had in growing market share and serving the needs of community members.”

First Federal has a foundation that was funded in January 2015 when it went through an conversion of being strictly a locally owned community bank to being a stock-owned bank traded on Nasdaq.

The First Federal Community Foundation gift means that the bank’s history of giving back to the community will continue, bank officials said.

In 2015 and 2016, the foundation gave $1.34 million to the communities it serves.

DIVING INTO COMMUNITY

Kelli Nielsen, senior vice president of retail sales for 1st Security Bank, headquartered in Mountlake Terrace, said 1st Security Bank is excited to be among the top three banks in the latest market share report.

“We acquired four Bank of America branches in January 2016. We note a loss of market share from Bank of America’s 2015 report through June 2016,” said Nielsen.

“The bank believes community banking is essential. We provide jobs and benefits to members of the Jefferson County community through our employees’ volunteerism. We give time and resources back to each community we service,” Nielsen said.

The bank dove into community projects shortly after buying the Bank of America branches.

In July 2016, 1st Security sponsored the second annual “Old School 4th of July at Fort Worden.”

“We are sustainable and have been in business for over 80 years,” Nielsen said. “First Security Bank has been named the No. 1 Washington-based bank in 2015 by Banker’s Caddy. We are proud to be among the top 200 healthiest banks in America for three consecutive years and have been a finalist on the Puget Sound Business Journal’s list of Washington’s Best Workplaces for the past two years. Our vision statement is to build a truly great place to work and bank.”

NOT JUST BANKERS

It’s not just bankers who were pleased to learn the news of local-based banks dominating the banking market.

“I think it’s better if you can meet the human beings that run important institutions and services,” said Matt Ready of Port Townsend, who protested in front of Bank of America in 2011 as part of the Occupy Movement. Ready recalled how Bank of America hired security guards to watch over its Port Townsend branch for months after the protest.

“With locally owned banks, you have a better chance of meeting a human being who is making an important decision about how your money is held and used.”

“It makes us one of the cool places to live in the country, because the local community protects its power to be unique,” said Ready.

Kathy Hill recently stopped at Kitsap Bank to do business. She recalled that the bank had been a Mariner Bank for years before being sold to Kitsap Bank.

“It’s nice to do business with them,” she said of the customer services representatives she knows by name. Kitsap Bank kept many of the employees who had been with Mariner Bank.

“They are people that you know who have worked in the community.”

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