The word heritage comes from the same Latin root as the word inheritance. But it’s easy to forget that the heritage we grow up with—our family, friends and community—are also an inheritance we’ve received from those who worked hard before us. For Brian Vance, the humble CEO of Heritage Bank, a legacy of growth, expansion and heart are the inheritance shared with his vibrant banking family.
Heritage Bank began more than 90 years ago and has grown up and down the I-5 corridor from Oregon to the Canadian border. After 47 years in the industry, and over 20 of those at Heritage Bank, Brian Vance will transition from CEO to chair of their board in July 2019.
An Idaho native, Vance moved to Washington and joined Heritage Bank in 1996 as their chief credit officer. He worked his way to CEO in 2006 and spent the last 13 years overseeing tremendous growth throughout the organization and our region, through times of recession and expansion.
His job change started in the summer of 2018. This allowed their team to “outline the public announcement transition to let investors know the process,” says Vance. “It’s important for investors to see the continuity.” In the interim, he has attended “a lot of investor conferences through the year and shared the succession story.”
Once established as board chair, his expertise will be on-site and readily available. “It’s a three-year term significantly connected to the bank but not in a day-to-day role,” he explains. Staff and the bank’s new CEO Jeff Deuel are excited for his continued knowledgeable presence.
And for good reason. When Vance started, Heritage Bank operated six branches and approximately $200 million in financial assets. To date, they have more than 60 branches and over $5 billion in assets. Much of the growth was through acquisitions of other institutions; there have been 10 in the last 11 years under Vance’s guidance.
“For the first 75 years, the bank was rather quiet,” laughs Vance. But then things took off. Thanks to foundational pillars of growth, stability and amazing people, they even expanded during the recent Great Recession in 2008.
“The CEO is top of the pyramid,” explains Vance, “But everybody else makes things happen. I’ve been very blessed with a great management team and great employees. It’s important to me that if I leave a legacy, it be stability.”
Heritage Bank is first and foremost a community bank, say Vance. It specializes in commercial products but also offers services in personal banking and lending, wealth management, home loans and merchant services to business owners and their employees.
They help the community in a hands-on way as well. In 2018, Heritage Bank was honored as one of the top 10 midsize Corporate Philanthropists by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Employees are encouraged to support local organizations through corporate matching and volunteer hours.
“We believe strongly that success and growth come from the community and we believe in giving back,” says Vance. “We contribute to all the communities we serve.” They’ve donated nearly $1.3 million to nonprofits and organizations, with 2019 top Thurston County recipients being the Thurston County Food Bank, Saint Martin’s University, South Puget Sound Community College and South Sound YMCA.
According to their 2018 Community Investment and Giving Annual Report, “Last year, 230 Heritage employees donated 4,427 hours to 258 organizations to complete 1,228 activities in the communities we serve.”
Financial management is daunting to many people. Trends, regulations and chaotic markets are why research shows: “data from the American Psychological Association…states that money is the number one stressor for Americans: ‘Regardless of the economic climate, money and finances have remained the top stressor since our survey began in 2007,’ the results revealed.”
Knowing that a dedicated team of skilled advisors is overseen by a man with nearly 50 years of experience is a blessing indeed. Brian Vance may be changing roles, but he, incoming CEO Jeff Deuel and the entire Heritage Bank team work hard to make a stronger Pacific Northwest for your family to inherit.