Idaho bank and credit union expand to Spokane

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Two Southeast Idaho-based financial institutions quickly moved into the Spokane area.

Last month, Idaho Falls-based Bank of Idaho agreed to acquire five branches of Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank, including a branch in downtown Spokane. This transaction, which also involves branches in Kennewick, Dayton, Yakima and Sunnyside, is to be completed by August 1.

Also in May, the Idaho Central Credit Union publicly launched its first branch in Washington State at the former Banner Bank building at 41 W. Riverside Ave. in downtown Spokane.

ICCU purchased the 36,900 square foot office building in November 2021 for $13.5 million for its Washington operations, its first of four planned branches here.

In September, the credit union — based in Chubbuck, Idaho, just outside of Pocatello — plans to open a branch in the Northpointe Plaza mall, north of Spokane.

Jeff Newgard, president and CEO of Bank of Idaho, said he previously worked for HomeStreet.

“I happen to know the market well, so I know what we’re getting into,” Newgard said. “The lending opportunities and banking opportunities in Eastern Washington are a perfect fit for the type of banking that we do. It’s a re-entry into the market for me, personally.

Manny Hochheimer, ICCU assistant vice president for Washington branches, said there’s a lot of “cross-pollination” between northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

“Ultimately, expanding our membership scope to include Washington was a strategic move that allows us to bring our products and services to more people in the Northwest,” he said. “We already had many members in the area, and since we are a full-service financial institution, it makes sense to have branches here that are available to help them.

Newgard and Hochheimer say Washington-based customers don’t care where a financial institution is headquartered; they are concerned about what the institution is doing for them.

“The name, the logo – people don’t count with that,” Newgard said. “People do business with their banker. This is where this relationship of trust is essential.

Bank of Idaho aims to create a “regional cross-mountain bank” and may acquire additional branches in Washington as part of that strategy, he said.

“Even though (real estate costs) have increased, we can still see buying opportunities,” Newgard said.

Spokane is growing, Hochheimer said, and financial institutions will tap into some of that growth.

“You’re going to start seeing a lot of these regional banks for financial institutions, especially for credit unions, where they’re going to grow either organically or through mergers and acquisitions,” Hochheimer said. “There’s so much going on in Spokane.”

ICCU has more than 517,000 members, of which approximately 5,100 are located in Spokane County.

Newgard said small-to-midsize commercial loans are Bank of Idaho’s forte.

“We can go over $20 million in loans, but our sweet spot is in that $10 million to $15 million range,” Newgard said. “In the space that we’re going to provide for small businesses, we’re going to be extremely competitive.”

As of March 31, Bank of Idaho had $767 million in assets, total loans of $434.7 million, and more than $687.8 million in total deposits.

This was an increase from 2021 assets of $625.2 million, loans of $422.1 million and deposits of $555.3 million.

Newgard said Bank of Idaho expects its assets to grow about 20% this year.

Hochheimer said that among eastern Washington bankers, goodwill toward one another was generally high.

“The financial sector here in Spokane works very well together,” Hochheimer said. “The tone has been set well by the leaders of these financial institutions to do what is ultimately good for the community.”

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