Riverview Community Bank: Nonprofit support ‘critical’

Vancouver-based community bank anticipates strong growth over the next several years

Riverview-HQ
Riverview Community Bank's downtown Vancouver headquarters

“Banking is becoming more fun.”

So says Riverview Community Bank executive vice president Kim Capeloto.

Even once the economy started to move in the right direction, he explained, people were still pretty cautious – was it going to be a sustained recovery, they wondered? What will rates do? (They are the lowest they have been in five decades.) But now, said Capeloto, the volume is increasing for banks in general.

“For community banks, we’ve seen a fair amount of demand that we had not seen over the last several years,” Capeloto said. “People are finally getting more comfortable that the new economy is here to stay instead of a fleeting moment. They’re looking for ways to capitalize on the current rate environment, expand businesses and augment the bottom line.”

Capeloto said that Riverview’s loan demand has been quite substantial over the last several months, exhibiting growth both in requests and actual bankable deals. In addition, the bank has seen a fairly strong influx of new clients and deposit dollars, which he said was “critical” because deposits are the foundation of the bank’s loans.

“We had well over $50 million in excess deposits in just this week – that’s a great sign,” said Capeloto. “When there’s more money, there’s more opportunity to get those dollars out into the community and help business and the entire community as a whole.”

Speaking of the community as a whole, Riverview takes the “community” part of its name very seriously, because as Capeloto expressed it, “if the community overall is doing well, then all the businesses – including the bank – will do well through osmosis.”

When people are out actively participating in the community and supporting nonprofits and companies, said Capeloto, there is an “absorption of success throughout the community” that translates to energy and excitement.

For Riverview, supporting community means different things, depending on which branch you’re talking about. The bank has a total of 17 branches, ranging from the Gorge (Goldendale) to the northern Columbia River (Longview) to the Willamette Valley (Salem), and of course, a large concentration here in the Vancouver area.

“Those markets are dramatically different,” Capeloto said. “We really need to look at how we support the various communities.”

Considerations include what’s best for the bank’s business model, what will allow the bank to have the greatest impact, what will help each community be a better place with a vibrant economy and does it support the choices of the bank’s 240 employees. Capeloto said that these employees actively support 150 to 175 organizations through volunteering, board positions, time and treasure.

“We want to support our employees’ choices, and our clients, and be equitable to the various markets,” said Capeloto. “It becomes a little bit of a juggling act.”

He said the bank’s marketing department plays a critical role as a centralized filter for all requests (examples include sponsorships of baseball teams, the Six to Sunset concerts at Esther Short Park, Fill-a-Bag, Walk-and-Knock, cash donations and donations of supplies or time). The bank receives between 10 and 20 requests per week, and Capeloto or another bank representative speaks at or MCs 30 to 40 events a year.

Capeloto said it would be impossible for him to name every one of the literally hundreds of organizations that the bank supports, but said “it is critical we support these organizations – they make sure our communities are a better place and everyone benefits by that.”

He did mention the Six to Sunset concerts as a good example of an event worthy of support (the bank has sponsored these concerts for 15 years).

“Each concert draws 6,000 to 9,000 people from all over Clark County and the Portland Metro area,” said Capeloto. “That’s a great outreach to folks – the concerts truly allow us to augment the lifestyle in the larger central commerce community.”

The bank’s philanthropic philosophy, Capeloto said, isn’t about ROI, and it’s not about being forced to donate.

“I can’t say that the bank got 100 new accounts because we sponsored a concert or another event,” he continued, “but I can say we are doing the right thing for the community, and that’s what we been doing since 1923.”

Capeloto, who serves on six nonprofit boards, said it was especially satisfying to have worked with several organizations “from their conceptual infancy through growth into a valuable resource for the community.”

“Each of these organizations provides very strong support for their constituents, and their constituents are citizens in our communities – it’s a full circle success story that we’re proud to be a part of,” he said.

Capeloto foresees this success story continuing in the communities in which the bank has a presence. He said the bank anticipates strong growth over the next several years.

“We see new businesses opening, existing businesses expanding – a variety of activities that will lead to new opportunity for all companies, including ours,” said Capeloto.

But even when times were hard, Capeloto said, the philanthropic spirit was still strong.

“In our communities, even in the worst of times, donations didn’t completely dry up. We saw very strong support for community-based organizations and non-profits,” said Capeloto. “That is a testament to the caliber of the individuals that live in those communities.”

And, he emphasized, that same high “caliber of the folks surrounding us” is one of the reasons Riverview Community Bank continues to be successful.

Riverview Community Bank
www.riverviewbank.com

Founded 1923, 240 Employees

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