Bank moves several corporate operations to Vancouver

With the sixth-floor lease of the downtown Vancouver Bank of America Financial Center, Columbia River Bank is officially moving its loan operations, retail operations and information technology departments from The Dalles, Ore., where its parent company Columbia Bancorp is headquartered.

The bank leased 20,193-square-feet at the building, 805 Broadway St., in late March from its owner, Portland-based Schlesinger Cos.

The bank’s loan operations will support its branch network of loan officers, and all loan underwriting, approval, administration and processing will take place at the Vancouver location. The site also will serve as a centralized processing center to support retail products and services, be a resource for bank employees and be the IT hub.

As many as 45 people will transfer from the bank’s cramped temporary location on Mill Plain Boulevard to the Bank of America building.

“Today, we have more than $1 billion in assets and we want to make sure to recruit and retain the best employees to support our growing business,” said Greg Spear, chief financial officer and vice chair. “We want to do it in a way to maintain our roots in The Dalles, but (our operations) will no longer strictly be in The Dalles.”

Columbia River Bank has 22 branches and 420 employees.

Spear said Vancouver was the top option to set up shop because it is a growth market, is an hour and 20 minutes from The Dalles and is not Portland.

“We didn’t want to go to Portland, not only because of the sheer competition, but also the density, which means more traffic,” he said. “Trying to get out of Portland to The Dalles may be a longer commute than from Vancouver, and many of the larger banks have a larger share there.”

The downtown Vancouver space, which leases for between $22 and $24.50 full-service, was previously occupied by Millennium Funding Group.

Cushman and Wakefield represented Schlesinger Cos. and Columbia River Bank was self-represented in the transaction.

The announcement comes on the heels of Northwest Pipe Co. moving its corporate headquarters from downtown Portland to Tidewater Cove in Vancouver.

Megan Patrick-Vaughn can be reached at mpatrick@vbjusa.com.