Inland Northwest Bank opens new branch in Kennewick

By Laura Kostad

Inland Northwest Bank opened its first permanent Tri-City branch last month in Kennewick.

The bank has been conducting business in the Tri-Cities since September in a temporary office at 1350 Spaulding Ave. in Richland while construction was completed on a new 2,000-square-foot office in Center Vision Clinic’s new building at 8127 W. Grandridge Blvd.

Inland Northwest Bank signed a long-term 10-year lease for the Center Vision office. Work to remodel it totaled about $350,000. It opened June 5.

The Spokane-based bank has been eyeing the booming Tri-Cities market for some time, said Jason Miller, director of marketing and culture at INB.

INB recently announced a merger with CenterPointe Community Bank, headquartered in Hood River, Oregon.

With approximately $770 million in assets, the combined company will expand INB’s community banking services into the Columbia River Gorge. CenterPointe operated three branches in the Columbia River Gorge.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.

CenterPointe Community Bank had $131.1 million in total assets, $89.3 million in gross loans and $117.5 million in total deposits.

The acquisition will be INB’s second, as it acquired Bank of Fairfield in October 2015.

INB operates 11 branches in Eastern Washington, a branch in Central Washington and three branches in northern Idaho.

INB is primarily a commercial lender, with roughly 80 percent to 85 percent of its assets vested in commercial transactions and 15 percent in traditional retail businesses, Miller said.

Due to the current housing shortage and resulting pressure to build, Chad Burchard, INB’s chief banking officer, said INB’s niche in the Tri-Cities is the residential construction market. This includes housing speculation, custom homes and builder loans.

“Many credit unions and banks don’t offer this service. Only a few in the area presently do,” Burchard said.

INB operates on a lean, efficient model at its newest branches. Modeled after its Hood River location, the new Kennewick branch employs a small, specialized team of five.

“We provide a unique experience based on outstanding customer service,” Miller said. “We’re not here to compete with credit unions head-on; we act as more of an advisor. We focus on excellent service and taking care of that niche market.”

He explained that a major component of INB’s more personalized, consultative approach to banking involves employing personal bankers and automated technologies to meet customer needs, as opposed to the traditional system of live tellers and drive-through services.

Miller said this approach has been driven by customers’ desire for independence.

“We offer many of the same products and services as other banks and credit unions,” Miller said. “But we’re trying to cater to a more personal experience as it relates to the transactional side of business, letting technology handle that.”

The increased adoption of independent methods for performing everyday transactions, such as mobile and online banking and CardValet, have enabled this shift in banking dynamics, Miller said.

“We are very pleased with how we’ve been perceived in the market so far, and that has to do with our outstanding hires and their relationships within the community,” Burchard said.

“It’s the people. If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have the business,” he added.

Miller reported that INB’s Kennewick branch has seen fantastic growth already since its opening.

“There will potentially be more branches in the future,” he said. “Our strategic goal is to watch and see what works at this location.”

INB strives to “keep things local and very community oriented,” Miller said. This includes hiring locally and being actively involved in the community. “We want to be as local as we possibly can be.”

INB: 509-579-0730, www.inb.com.

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