On the edge of the Palouse – east of Hooper, south of Winona, north of Hay – the town of LaCrosse finally has a bank.
It once had a branch of a bank but has gone unbanked since the State Department of Financial Institutions closed Colfax-based Bank of Whitman early last August.
Tacoma-based Columbia Bank, which bought the assets of Bank of Whitman from the FDIC, chose not to re-open the LaCrosse branch. Since then, DFI has been working to find a successor.
Rick Riccobono, head of banks at DFI, has been encouraging Sterling Bank to open the branch, and Sterling this week opened at 202 So. Main St. in the small Eastern Washington town of some 300 souls.
The branch will serve LaCrosse as well as the towns of Endicott and Washtucna, which were also left unbanked by Whitman’s demise.
“I think we’ve got it all,” Riccobono said Tuesday, noting that no area of the state is without relatively easy access to a banking facility. “I’m sure there are other parts of Washington that need banking services, and we’ll find those and we’ll do a similar deal to get them help. The people of LaCrosse had banking services and lost them, and now they’re back.”
“I think the people out there are grateful,” Ricconono said. “We encouraged this from the get-go.”
According to a Sterling spokeswoman, the branch will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.