“In 1977, I began my banking career with a savings bank located in downtown Tacoma at 1102 Commerce Street,” says Hal Russell. “Today, as the president of Commencement Bank, my office remains in Tacoma and, ironically, is located in the same building on Commerce Street. As a young trainee, I could not have imagined that, 39 years later, I would help create what has become one of the nation’s healthiest new community banks.”
Commencement Bank was chartered in 2006 with the vision, says Russell, to become a “high-touch, high-tech” bank with an unwavering commitment to become a strong community partner. Fast-forward 10 years, and the Bank is proud to have accomplished that goal. Despite the recession, and the fact that Pierce County–headquartered banks declined from 10 to just three remaining today, Commencement Bank has grown to a $335 million bank with four locations and 50 employees. Contributing to its growth was its merger with Olympia-based Thurston First Bank in October 2016.
“The success of Commencement Bank would not have been possible without our traditional approach to banking, the hard work and dedication of our staff and board, the continuous support of our shareholders, and our loyal clients who believe in the value of relationships,” says Russell.
Throughout all of its accomplishments and challenges, Russell emphasizes, one thing that has remained consistent is that it has never strayed from the customer-focused philosophy that the bank was built on. “I will not pretend to know what the next 10 years will bring, but I do know that as long as our customers and community are at the heart of every decision we make, we will consider our bank successful.”