Citizens Bank will increase its presence in Philomath later this year with the relocation of its loan-servicing department from the main branch in downtown Corvallis to the former Wells Fargo building on North 15th and Main streets.
The office will serve in an administrative-only capacity with day-to-day banking operations continuing at Philomath’s branch on the corner of South 13th and Main.
Loan operations officer Kerry DeGuzman, who lives in Philomath, said the processing center has been “busting at the seams” over the past year or so with nine employees in the main branch’s basement.
“We have several back-office departments that are just at capacity for space, so we have been actively looking for properties in communities we’re already in,” DeGuzman said. “Wells Fargo vacated (its Philomath building) and it was the right fit and right opportunity.”
Citizens Bank purchased the building, which was constructed in the mid-1960s and features 2,651 square feet. First National Bank of Oregon originally operated out of the building, changing its name to First Interstate Bank in 1981. Wells Fargo acquired First Interstate in 1996 and closed the Philomath branch last year.
“We will be remodeling — lots of paint, lots of cleanup — and we will make it a back office for our own loan-servicing department, which handles all documentation and life-of-loan servicing for the entire bank loan portfolio,” DeGuzman said.
The bank will utilize a courier service to send any hard-copy documentation back and forth. Otherwise, DeGuzman said a lot of that paperwork can now be taken care of electronically.
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The nine-person department currently crams seven processors into a single room with separate spaces for the manager and loans operations officer.
“So it’ll be nice to have us all together in a nice community space,” said DeGuzman, who will be promoted to the department’s lead position following the current manager’s retirement at the end of this month. “We’ll have room for training, meetings, conference space. An updated space with new paint and windows will be a huge plus.”
Another benefit that employees will enjoy involves parking their car.
“Currently as employees downtown (in Corvallis), we’re not allowed to park in the free blocks and so all of our employees park a minimum of two, three blocks away,” De Guzman said. “It’ll just be nice that they’ll be able to pull right up and be able to park right in front of where they work.”
Citizens Bank, which opened its Philomath branch Dec. 9, 1974, is currently working with a design firm on remodeling the building. DeGuzman said if everything falls into place with that project, as well as permitting, then employees hope to be moving in by June.
“I’m excited because I live in Philomath,” DeGuzman said. “I can ride my bike, I can walk, I can go home for lunch.”