Business View Magazine | September 2020

137 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2020 PEOPLE ’ S BANK OF COMMERCE Business View Magazine recently spoke with Ken Trautman, co-founder of People’s Bank of Commerce, Julia Beattie, President and Chief Lending Officer, and COO Jerri Reno, about the inception and evolution of this trusted community bank. Trautman has served as its President and CEO since September 2008, when his friend and co-founder, Mike Sickels, retired. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation. BVM: Can you talk about the bank’s history and growth? Trautman: “Back in 1996, there were a lot of bank mergers going on and Mike and I thought there was value in a locally-owned, community bank, where the decisions you’re making concerning your lenders were pertinent to the market you’re in. So, we started putting together a community bank. It took us about two years to get the capital we needed, the regulatory approvals, and a branch site located. We opened our doors in March 1998 and were approved to start with $3 million in capital. We oversubscribed and ended up with $6 million and that capital carried us for the next 10 years until the Great Recession. Seven of us started the bank, so we wore a lot of hats. My partner, Mike, was the CFO/CEO, I was the President and Chief Credit Officer, and Jerri Reno (now our COO) did everything else you can think of when you set up a bank. “After two years, we opened a branch in Ashland, Oregon in an old Dairy Queen building that came with a drive-up permit. Even today, Ashland only has 13 drive-up permits allowed in the city, so there’s a value to having that. Then we opened our third branch in Central Point, Oregon in the throes of the recession. Really bad timing. Central Point is a bedroom community of Medford, a retail community. That one’s been a bit of a struggle for us. In 2010, we built our fourth branch, on Barnett, in the other end of Medford. That was an attempt to move our head