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Oregon Pacific Bank buys South Valley Bank & Trust division

 Posted: 10:35 AM October 01, 2012

Florence-based Oregon Pacific Bank has acquired South Valley Bank & Trust's trust division and office on Ohare Parkway near the Medford airport.

Seattle-based Washington Federal announced a deal to acquire Klamath Falls-based South Valley Bank & Trust in April and discussions quickly ensued to spin off the trust division. (Correction: The full corporate name of Washington Federal has been corrected in this story.)

Oregon Pacific, founded in 1979, was the 20th-largest Oregon-based bank in 2011.

President Jim Clark said the move into the Rogue Valley is a natural progression for the coastal bank, which moved into Coos Bay and Roseburg in 2002.

"It would not be unreasonable for us to look forward to expand our banking services into the Rogue Valley," Clark said.

The eight-person Medford trust office will continue to be headed by Diane Dombras.

With the acquisition, Oregon Pacific Bank now has 85 employees.

"We're looking forward to bring our banking experience into the Rogue Valley," Clark said. "Medford has been on our chart for some time. We're excited because South Valley has done a phenomenal job with their trust and wealth management."

Clark moved to Oregon Pacific from Umpqua Bank in 2007.

As the coastal and regional economies moved to tourism from wood products, Clark said the bank extended its services into wealth management.

"We needed to expand to remain viable," he said. "We are by design a commercial bank, primarily with small- and medium-sized businesses. What makes us unique — especially for a smaller institution — is that we have a very viable trust and wealth management division. Through the recession and whatever level it still lingers, it's been a wonderful part of our bank for sustained earnings."

It was through its trust division that South Valley moved into the Rogue Valley in 1999, acquiring Western Bank's trust operations after Washington Mutual Bank acquired Western Bank. South Valley was forced to look for a suitor when its efforts to sell shares through an initial public offering failed last year.

— Greg Stiles


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