Big banks are big winners in Clark County

JPMorgan Chase still No. 1; First Indy buy boosts Sterling

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

Published:

 
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JPMorgan Chase Bank remains the top bank in Clark County, as measured by assets, and increased its market share to 16.58 percent of deposits, according the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s new market share report. Chase, one of the nation's largest banks, held 15.99 percent of the market in 2011.

Other major nationally charted banks also either increased their market share or held steady, according to the report released this week, while local and regional banks generally saw their market shares decline. In total, Clark County's 16 banks with 97 branches reported $4.36 billion in deposits. The top seven banks held more than 86 percent of those assets.

The biggest change was Sterling Bank's leap from a tiny player with less than 1 percent market share in 2011 to the county's second-largest bank, with nearly 15 percent of the market. The huge increase is no surprise: Spokane-based Sterling this year acquired the former First Independent Bank, based in Vancouver, which held the second-place position behind Chase in 2011.

Yet Sterling's 2012 market share of 14.94 percent is nearly one percentage point lower than the combined total of Sterling and First Independent's market shares for 2011. Banks typically see an initial loss in customers in the short term following a merger.

Riverview Community Bank, the only remaining bank based in Clark County, saw its market share drop from 11.8 percent to 10.96 percent. Riverview's deposits dropped by $21 million, to $478 million. But Kim Capeloto, Riverview's executive vice president for marketing and operations, said local customer deposits have actually increased.

The $21 million decline reflects some large and unusual accounts, Capeloto said. Riverview Asset Management Corp., a separate legal entity, withdrew $23 million for another investment. And Riverview Bank chose not to extend a high interest rate on $16.5 million in deposits by investors from outside the region, prompting those investors to move funds, he said.

Riverview has reported losses in the last three fiscal quarters, and it will issue its next quarterly report at the end of this month. Capeloto said potential customers often ask questions about the bank's financial health, but most end up moving their money to the bank after gathering information. "People are very anxious for our reports to come out with regard to the challenges we've had," Capeloto said. "We're very interested as well."

James Dustman, JPMorgan Chase's Portland-based market manager for Oregon and Southwest Washington, attributed his bank's recent growth in part to an emphasis on improved service.

"The level of customer service we give our customers now compared to a year or a year-and-a-half ago is by far improved," Dustman said. Part of that change, he said, is a conscious move by branch employees to "good conversations instead of an intensive sales environment."

Dustman said Chase works to counter a sentiment by some banking customers that favors local or regional banks over huge national or global financial institutions. "We offer the strength of a global bank, but it feels like a local bank," he said.

Chase, which acquired the failed Washington Mutual Bank in 2008, holds 7.2 percent of the Portland metropolitan area's market share.

Oregon-based Umpqua Bank showed a drop in assets and market share in Clark County. But Eve Callahan, the bank's senior vice president of corporate communications, said the shifting patterns triggered by the sale of First Independent could explain this year's ups and downs for other banking competitors.

"Any time you see changes in landscape local banks are going to see some adjustments here and there," Callahan said. "This is not something we see as a major change or any trend at all."

The FDIC report is based on a June 30 count of assets of the 16 state or federally chartered banks operating in Clark County. In addition to the seven largest banks, other banks operating in Clark County, in descending order of market share, are West Coast Bank, KeyBank, Regents Bank, Washington Federal Bank, HomeStreet Bank, Pacific Continental Bank, Banner Bank, Columbia State Bank, and Heritage Bank.