It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal

Banner Bank eyes long-term partnerships with Oregon businesses.

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The secret’s out about Oregon — we’re growing, and it’s happening fast.

A 2016 Bloomberg analysis declared the state’s economy fittest in the nation, and economic well-being indicators are up across the board heading into 2017, according to Oregon’s Office of
Economic Analysis.

Prosperous times embolden businesses to think bigger, but smart growth demands more than a larger line of credit or a one-size-fits-all loan, notes Mark McGirr, President of Portland-based rug and carpet company Atiyeh Bros. You need the guidance of a trusted banker who knows your business almost as well as you do.

After a century-plus in rugs and carpeting sales, cleaning and repair, this family-run operation has come to deeply value its longstanding professional relationships.

Atiyeh Bros. has banked with just two institutions since its founding, and when it recently came time to update its financial products, McGirr was after more than competitive terms and competent management; he also wanted a meaningful partnership.

What set Washington-headquartered Banner Bank apart? The promise of personalized solutions delivered by competent, responsive bankers McGirr actually wanted to spend time with.

“You obviously look for things that are competitive and meet your needs, but it’s the relationship that goes beyond,” he says. “All businesses organize themselves a little bit differently. Everybody’s unique. You want somebody who recognizes that uniqueness and the value of what your business brings to the community.”

Close banker-client ties are the norm at Banner, says Division Manager Mark Brandon, who heads up the bank’s commercial business in Western Oregon, and that responsiveness doesn’t end with winning a client: “Sometimes, when bankers bring a new business in the door, that’s the last time they see the client. We don’t work that way.”

Like Atiyeh Bros., Banner’s been doing business in the Pacific Northwest for more than 100 years. In Oregon, Banner now operates in markets as diverse as Portland-Metro, Eastern Oregon, Eugene, Medford and the South Coast, employing 389 Oregonians at 44 locations. Banner’s doubled its assets to $1.6 billion in just two years here in Oregon, and recently received the 2016 U.S. Small Business Administration’s Rising Star Award from the Portland District Office.

Oregon’s current largess is visible at every tier of enterprise, from fresh startups to mature, long-established operations, but the banking needs of these businesses are far from static or uniform. Whether the loan is $500 or $30 million, at Banner, it’s part of a broader relationship with an attentive, carefully matched banker, promises Brandon: “It’s important to us that we honor our community banking roots and  service clients the way they expect. Yes, you get hands-on expert advice, along with the sophisticated products and tailored solutions available from a larger financial institution — and we pride ourselves on that best-of-both-worlds approach.”

A century is ample time to recognize the value of a long-tailed approach, no matter your business, says McGirr. Today, Atiyeh Bros. operates a retail store in Tigard and cleaning plants in Portland and Eugene. Looking ahead to its fourth generation, the company’s thinking not in terms of quarters or fiscal years, but of entire generations to come.

And as Atiyeh Bros. reaches out to Oregon’s new residents and visitors, he says, it’ll keep relying on Banner bankers every step of the way: “They’re experienced, personable and they understand us. And that’s really the recipe for a successful relationship.”