The Biz Buzz

Get the most up-to-date news, insights and analysis of Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound business.

NOTICE: The Biz Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved The Biz Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Category: Banking

July
10th

Heck proposes bill in Congress to allow banks and credit unions to service marijuana-business clients

Washington Congressman Denny Heck and colleague Ed Perlmutter of Colorado – along with 16 other members – on Wednesday introduced a bill that would clarify and codify federal banking laws as they relate to the business of legalized marijuana.

Under current federal law, legitimate marijuana businesses are (or will be) prevented from opening bank accounts and operating as any other businesses might. They are forced to operate as cash-only enterprises because banks and credit unions will not risk federal wrath by serving legitimate financial needs.

“The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act would allow banks, credit unions and other depository

Read more »

June
18th

Latest ratings by financial firm show state financial institutions stabilizing

The financial analysis firm BauerFinancial has issued its quarterly “star rating” list of banks and credit unions statewide and nationwide.

The ratings consider criteria including assets, capital ratio, income and nonperforming assets.

• Among Washington banks, 36 received the top rating of five stars.
• Among those with five stars based in the South Sound were Columbia State Bank, Fife Commercial Bank, Olympia Federal Savings and Loan, and Valley Bank, which soon will be subsumed by Olympia-based Heritage Bank, which itself rated four stars.
• Four banks in the state – Business Bank of Burlington, Hometown National

Read more »

June
11th

As the economy improves, so does the financial situation at state banks

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has released its quarterly “State Profile” of banks in Washington. The latest data show that banks in the state are seeing an improved economy, which has meant that earnings are up while operational efficiency has improved.

Among the data:
• Total assets at state banks rose slightly from $63.265 billion in the first quarter of 2012 to $$63.266 billion this year.
• Past-due and non-accruing loans fell from 3.79 percent of all loans a year ago to 2.88 percent in 2013.
• The median return on assets rose from 0.47 percent a

Read more »

May
31st

Credit union sponsoring five scholarships for high school students to attend Washington Business Week

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union will contribute $5,000 to Washington Business Week, a weeklong camp held four times this summer at four colleges across the state, according to a news release.

The funds are intended to sponsor five high school students who want to attend but can’t afford the full $1,200 cost.

The camp closest to home will be at Pacific Lutheran University on Aug. 4-10. The others are earlier in the summer and will be held at Western Washington University, Central Washington University and Gonzaga University.

Students participate in small teams, or “companies,” and complete challenges with real-life business

Read more »

April
9th

Opus Bank opening in downtown Tacoma in third quarter

Opus Bank has announced that it has entered into lease agreements to open new banking offices in both Tacoma and Seattle

The new banking offices are a continuation of the Bank’s planned organic growth, which includes the opening of de novo banking offices in major metropolitan markets along the West Coast.

Debbie McLeod, executive vice president for retail banking, said in a release, “We are continuing to strategically expand our network of banking offices in major metropolitan markets. Complementing our existing 22 locations in the Puget Sound region, these new offices will be Opus Bank’s first offices located in the

Read more »

April
8th

Heritage Bank and Central Valley Bank to merge; the brands stay, and overall ownership remains the same

Olympia-based Heritage Financial Corp., the parent company of subsidiaries Heritage Bank and Central Valley Bank, announced Monday that Central Valley Bank will merge into Heritage Bank. Central Valley Bank will operate as Heritage Bank doing-business-as Central Valley Bank.

“Central Valley Bank has been a part of the Heritage team for 14 years and continues to be a very successful bank with strong community relationships,” said Brian Vance, CEO of Heritage Financial, Heritage Bank and Central Valley Bank.

“The decision to merge Central Valley Bank with Heritage Bank was ultimately one of management succession and economies of scale,” he

Read more »

April
2nd

New BECU ad campaign features customer thoughts as relayed through social media

BECU – the largest credit union in the state and the fifth largest cooperative in the country, with assets of over $11 billion – is about to touch your heart, because you’ve touched theirs with your posts on social media.

The company is introducing a new advertising campaign featuring real people sharing their feelings, with “share” being the operative word in a campaign titled “SHARE.”

In a release this week, the company said it “has ascended from being member-owned, to being member-loved.”

The proof if this comes in the numbers, if not in the accolades people leave on Facebook, Twitter,

Read more »

April
2nd

Columbia Bank acquisition of West Coast finalized

Columbia Banking System has announced the completion of its acquisition of West Coast Bancorp, the parent company of West Coast Bank. With the completion of the merger, Columbia’s total assets exceed $7 billion, with 157 branches in 38 counties in Washington and Oregon.

Columbia also appointed David A. Dietzler, a former director of West Coast, to serve on Columbia’s board and the board of its wholly owned subsidiary, Columbia State Bank.

Melanie J. Dressel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia said in a release, “We are delighted to welcome the customers, employees, and shareholders of West Coast to Columbia.

Read more »