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Business of the Year: Willamette Valley Bank has community roots

By James Day

From its arrival in Silverton in 2002 Willamette Valley Bank has lived by the motto that to serve the community you must be involved in the community.

“Twenty-two years ago a group of business owners opened Willamette because they believed the community would be better served by a locally headquartered bank, managed by people who understood the challenges and opportunities businesses and individuals face in the Willamette Valley,” branch manager Joshua Keck told Our Town.

Willamette Valley bank

“They understood the way in which banks needed to operate. They understood the desire of people in this community who would choose to work with a banker rather than a bank. Bankers who take the time to develop relationships with their local clients to craft financial solutions that best serve their needs. Bankers who knew their clients’ names when they walked through the door. Bankers who understand best how to make an impact on the local community by way of giving back and investing in local projects.

“This is why our involvement in our community is so integral to the DNA of Willamette Valley Bank.”

The “giving back” piece by Willamette Valley Bank and its employees has not gone unnoticed. The bank participates, both in terms of sponsorships and financial support and volunteering, in events such as the Mayor’s Ball, the inaugural Paws in the Park, the Silverton Hills Strawberry Festival and the Homer Davenport Community Festival.  

The Silverton Chamber of Commerce has named Willamette Valley Bank as its Business of the Year for 2023 and Keck and his employees will be honored at the Feb. 17 First Citizen Awards Night at The Oregon Garden.

According to the nominating papers the bank “also has been known for making sure that their managers and often operations managers are active on Silverton committees and in Silverton service groups, and they are known for sending staff to directly participate in working at events.”

Branch manager Keck is president-elect of the Silverton Rotary Club as well as current president of the chamber. He noted in the Our Town interview that “all five of the staff at the Silverton branch volunteer time in community events [and] some of the staff are on committees for local community projects. Last April we did ‘Teach Kids to Save,’” an event in which bank personnel visited 25 middle school classrooms and talked to more than 500 middle school students throughout the Willamette Valley about financial literacy.

Keck, who has been with Willamette Valley Bank for just more than two years added “with the tag line ‘where local means something’ we are living what we believe. If we, as a local community bank, are not engaging in our communities and supporting local businesses and organizations, then we have failed as a community bank. That is why we as a bank emphasize the importance of fully immersing ourselves into this community and support however we can.

“We are honored and privileged to be a part of such a great community.”

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