I joined Heritage Bank in 2009 after decades with large banks and I was immediately taken by our “community bank model.” In addition to providing financial services to the communities we serve, we also encourage everyone on the team to participate in their communities with their time. The Bank then follows with additional support in the form of corporate contributions.
As President of Heritage Bank, I see this model in action every day. I see how generous our employees are with their volunteer time, how well-known they are in their communities, the positive impact of their hard work and how our corporate contributions help to support those communities. Being a part of the Heritage Bank team is inspiring and rewarding in ways I never experienced at the larger banks.
When Whidbey Island Bank and Heritage Bank merged, our combined charitable giving won us the Puget Sound Business Journal’s second place award in the large company category. Winning the award was notable because we realized how significant our contributions were to the region. As a result of that award, we decided to better define our giving plans for the entire bank with a focus on business and economic development, education and youth development, civic benefits and health and human services. And more specifically, to ensure we reach the people who need us most: youth, low-income individuals and the military and veterans. Additionally, we want to focus some of our giving on longer-term, higher-impact projects where there is a measurable result.
To address this new focus, in 2016 we began working with the Tacoma Housing Authority on a flagship financial literacy program called the Salishan Children’s Saving Account Program. This program helps students (and their families) prepare financially to go to college by setting up bank-sponsored savings accounts, incentive programs and financial literacy courses. It has been exciting to watch the program grow and to see the impact it will have on the kids and their families in the future!
Late in 2016 Heritage also partnered with BankWork$, an organization that trains adults from low income and minority communities for lasting careers in the financial services industry. Not only do our employees volunteer their time teaching at the training classes as part of the program but we are proud to say that we just hired our first BankWork$ graduates!
Last year, through a Washington Bankers Association – Banker’s Care event, our employees contributed over $7,500 for Northwest Harvest—one of the largest employee contributions of all the Washington state banks who participated in the program. Our team cares!
We have a very unique culture at Heritage Bank. We work hard to meet our performance targets and as a result, we are creating a high-performing bank while also working hard to help our communities. I look forward to continuing to refine and grow our giving plans by participating in other high-impact programs across the Bank’s footprint.
Heritage Bank continues to play a pivotal role in the Pacific Northwest by giving back to the communities we serve. I am very proud to be a part of the Heritage Bank team!
About the Author
Jeff Deuel is the president and chief executive officer at Heritage Bank. Jeff joined Heritage in 2010 as Executive Vice President, becoming Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in the same year, before being promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer in 2012. Jeff brings more than 28 years of banking experience with companies like JPMorgan Chase, Bank United, First Union Bank, CoreStates Bank and First Pennsylvania Bank. He serves on the Washington Bankers Association board as Chairman-Elect, is an avid cyclist and has climbed to the top of Mt. Rainier.p