Bank merger has downside
July 3, 2008 · Updated 8:56 PM
The merger between Whidbey Island Bank and Frontier Bank may not be the benefit to our local citizens that Mr. Cann and the board of Whidbey Island Bank would like us to believe. In the 40 years I have lived on Whidbey the loss of local banks (we had three including Whidbey Federal Credit Union) has made it harder and more costly to live and do business in our small community, Whidbey Island Bank is the last of them. The loss of well paying jobs and that local name will be a great loss to our community.
Years ago when my wife and I tried to buy a house only Island Savings and Loan would give us a mortgage. Ten years ago our small company was awarded a large government contract and we were in need of capital to get the project up and running. We tried every bank in town, the large banks treated us just like that commercial on TV where the big bank executives think small businesses are not worth the trouble. Whidbey Island Bank was the only bank in town that would loan us the needed funding. We made a profit on that contract and paid back the loan in less then six months. We have been loyal Whidbey Island Bank customers ever since. The service we receive from the employees at our local bank is excellent. I am skeptical that a bank from outside the local area can offer the same local services that Oak Harbor and its citizens need. No doubt the shareholders of Whidbey Island Bank will make out just fine but the community loses its local bank.