After two years outside the banking industry, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Kim Capeloto is jumping back in.
He has accepted a position as Riverview Community Bank’s new executive vice president in charge of operations and marketing, the chamber announced Thursday.
Capeloto, 48, joined the chamber as interim president in August 2008 after resigning as president of the Bank of Clark County two months earlier. He left shortly before the failed bank was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in January 2009, leaving behind more than 25 years of experience in banking and finance.
He’s now leaving the chamber to fill a newly created position at Riverview, where he’ll oversee public relations, technology and operations, among other things for the $860 million bank — duties that have previously been handled by the bank’s president, Ron Wysaske.
“It allows me to act a little more like a president and deal with strategic issues and continue to help the bank to grow and prosper,” Wysaske said. “I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to remain as involved as I’ve always been, but it strengthens our management capabilities.”
Riverview in July completed an $18.1 million stock sale that positions the bank for faster growth. Capeloto will be the first addition to its executive team in years and the first strategic move the bank has made toward its growth track, Wysaske said.
Capeloto says his first priority will be to raise the profile of Riverview in the community.
Public relations has fallen by the wayside for many banks, which have instead focused on repairing their balance sheets and maintaining current customer relations, Capeloto said.
“(Riverview) doesn’t have a PR problem at all,” he said, but “they have been very focused to make sure they’re a well-run bank.”
Success at the chamber
With his gregarious personality and long list of business connections, Capeloto is a natural choice for the bank’s public relations role, said Don Russo, an attorney and board member of the Greater Vancouver Chamber. Capeloto has raised the visibility of the chamber locally and statewide among businesses and politicians, Russo said. He formed a public affairs committee to review important business issues and organized lobbying efforts at the state capital to advocate for businesses.
“We are out front on issues rather than late to respond or not responding on important issues,” Russo said. “Example: the bridge. Example: initiatives that get on the ballot.”
Chamber membership has fallen below 1,100 businesses from 1,200 since Capeloto took over. But engagement has risen among community members thanks to his leadership, Russo said. The chamber’s new No Business After Hours series of networking events, for example, have been amazingly popular, sometimes attracting thousands of attendees, he said.
The chamber has narrowed its list of successors to three finalists and expects to announce its new president with two weeks, Russo said.
Though Capeloto has had an “awesome” experience working for the chamber, he has been itching to get back to banking, he said. He has been in discussions with many institutions over the past few months, looking for the right fit.
“I will miss this job,” said Capeloto, who’s leaving Sept. 15. “There’s been a huge level of support from the community and chamber members and I have a phenomenal team here.”