Transitions don’t have to be difficult. With planning, transparency, experience and a great team, moving from one phase to another is seamless. At Heritage Bank, incoming CEO Jeff Deuel takes the reins from longtime leader Brian Vance this July after a one-year changeover.
Though he’s moving into the top spot, Deuel is no stranger to the industry or Heritage Bank itself. He’s been in banking for 37 years, the first 20 in Philadelphia where he grew up. After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2002, Deuel joined Heritage in 2010 and was made Chief Operating Officer eight months later. In July 2018, his latest promotion was announced as current CEO Brian Vance moves to become chair of the board.
“We transition in stages,” says Deuel, “so it fits together for our constituents by design. It allows for orderly transitions so we don’t unsettle anybody. And Brian’s new role lets me still have access to his input. He and I very much enjoy each other and enjoy working together; it’s nice he’ll be nearby.”
Many people find financial uncertainty stressful so the bank strives to maintain a built-in multi-year succession plan and keep all clients and customers fully informed. But strong leaders mean increased growth and Heritage Bank has both in abundance.
“While we as an organization have grown through the years,” says Deuel, “we have been able to maintain the culture of teamwork and collaboration. We love and value diversity, but no single person is more important than the whole.”
Despite—or because of—their success, the bank and its management team have never lost track of their greatest asset: people. They offer services from the Canadian border down to Oregon and treat both patrons and employees like family. “We tend to attract like-minded people,” Deuel continues, “and have a saying that egos don’t survive long in our organization.”
Heritage Bank is first and foremost a commercial community bank, specializing in small business owners and their employees. But they offer a range of products and services for personal and business needs as well as wealth management strategies. In business for more than 90 years, they’ve grown to over 60 branches up and down the I-5 corridor.
Down the road, literally and figuratively, they hope to cement their presence in Portland and Seattle as well as integrating newer technologies into their overall profile. Both Vance and Deuel agree that “we’re working in the future to not interrupt the front-facing relationship with customers as technology growth enhances back-office operations.”
To this end, Heritage Bank recently brought on a chief technology officer to add and enhance the tech and automation front. They hope this will streamline processes “to make us stronger and allow us to do more with the same people.”
Because at the end of the day, people are their focus. Employees are encouraged to participate in service projects, volunteer and support local charities. According to their 2018 Community Investment and Giving Annual Report, Heritage Bank “believes in the possibilities for each and every person—and the power of community to improve the lives of those around us. When neighbors help neighbors, the whole community benefits. And that’s true prosperity.”
Last year alone, more than $1.2 million was donated to organizations in Thurston County and beyond. “Our collective effort is on ensuring the communities where we live and work remain resilient, sustainable and viable,” says Deuel. “We can make an impact at a scale and level of effectiveness that none of us could achieve on our own. By uniting the passion and commitment of our employees, community members and local organizations, we can create sustainable solutions that will continue to change lives for years to come.”
To recognize their dedication, Heritage Bank was just honored as one of Washington’s top 10 midsized corporate philanthropists by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Academic Alan Dundes once said that “life, it seems, is nothing if not a series of initiations, transitions and incorporations.” While change can be unsettling, it doesn’t have to be upsetting. At Heritage Bank, they’ve had nearly 100 years to master the up’s and down’s of markets, growth and regional development. Staff are committed to the families, neighborhoods and people they serve.
Read more about their history, leadership team and customers or give them a call at 800-455-6126 with questions. Then follow them on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter for events, activities and educational articles galore.