West-side Olympia banks shuffle locations

Washington State Employees Credit Union to move its Harrison Avenue branch into a building that will soon be vacated by South Sound Bank

Staff writerMarch 4, 2014 

New location for South Sound Bank.

ROLF BOONE; STAFF WRITER

South Sound Bank and Washington State Employees Credit Union are on the move, the latest financial institutions to seek new locations in the Olympia area.

The two join Thurston First Bank and Washington Business Bank, both of which have announced plans to move main offices to downtown Olympia.

South Sound Bank, which has had its main office at Harrison Avenue and Division Street for the past 10 years, is in the process of moving to 2850 Harrison Ave., the site of a former West Coast Bank branch.

South Sound will close its branch at 1 p.m. March 14, then reopen for business at the new location at 9 a.m. March 17. The biggest part of the move will take place that weekend, President and Chief Executive Dan Yerrington said Monday.

That branch became available after Columbia Bank in Tacoma acquired West Coast Bank and no longer needed it. South Sound Bank has acquired the property, Yerrington said.

The move makes sense, he said, because the bank’s lease expires April 1, and it needs more room. South Sound Bank employs 37 people, but 25 of them fill the 5,200-square-foot building at Harrison and Division. The new location measures 8,000 square feet, he said. South Sound Bank also has a branch in Lacey.

“It’s functional, and we plan on growing some more,” he said.

Yerrington said he’s also come full circle because he used to work in the new location when he was president of Centennial Bank prior to its merger with West Coast.

And by buying that location, the bank is saving about $2,000 a month, he said.

Meanwhile, once South Sound Bank has departed its old location, Washington State Employees Credit Union will fill that building by moving its current branch on Harrison Avenue to that corner location. Just like South Sound Bank, the credit union needs more room, outgrowing the 2,400 square feet it currently uses, spokeswoman Ann Flannigan said.

The credit union lease begins in April, she said. That will be followed by a remodel, and the credit union expects to occupy the space mid-summer, Flannigan said.

Pat Rants, president and chief executive of commercial real estate company The Rants Group, said the recent bank moves are not necessarily a sign of banks taking advantage of a slower commercial real estate market.

Banks have very specialized needs, so when property becomes available they take advantage of it, he said. The Columbia Bank and West Coast Bank merger set off a chain reaction, he said, attracting South Sound Bank to its new home. The merger also freed up an existing Columbia Bank branch in Lacey that Rants said he thinks will be filled soon.

Thurston First Bank is financing the renovation of its new home at Franklin Street and Legion Way, while Washington Business Bank has purchased and is set to move into the bank building at Fifth Avenue and Franklin Street.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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