Northrim Bank has launched a new loan production office in Kodiak, under the leadership of longtime island resident Mark Anderson.
Anderson, who previously worked at First National Bank Alaska and served as the chief financial officer of Brechan Construction, brings a wealth of knowledge and local experience to the role.
Northrim Bank was founded in Alaska in 1990, according to Michael Martin, chief operating officer and general counsel for the bank. The bank began with $8 million and the idea to provide another choice for banking in the state, offering superior customer service.
Anderson lived in Anchorage when the bank first opened, and he said that even then he took note of their emphasis on customer service.
“That was their model from day one,” he said. “The customer-first service that they adhere to is important and is something that aligns well with my professional goal, to always provide the best and most knowledgeable experience I can to my customers.”
Anderson’s decision to return to banking after working for Brechan, a longstanding Kodiak construction firm, was motivated in part by his desire to make connections in the community.
“I really missed the personal interaction I had with people, and the professionalism of banking,” he said. “That was part of the appeal that caused me to consider moving back.”
Anderson has lived in Alaska since 1987, has called Kodiak home for 21 years, and worked in banking for 22 years.
“Even while I stepped away from banking for a while, I continually had people call and consult with me and ask questions. I found that people still really trusted me and relied on the information I could give them,” he said. “I hope I can continue that same service and reputation going forward.”
In the 30 years since Northrim Bank was established, it has grown significantly. “We started in Anchorage with a handful of employees,” Martin said. Now, the bank has 16 branches and 450 employees, and manages $1.6 billion.
“We have continually looked for opportunities to grow and to expand into different markets,” Martin said. “We are the only bank in Alaska to be entrepreneurial, because we acquired other businesses and financial institutions in Alaska, including Residential Mortgage.”
As other financial institutions have closed branches, Martin said Northrim has sought to open new branches throughout the state. The new Kodiak loan production office comes at the heels of a similar loan production office established in Soldotna in 2018. “It worked out really well for us,” Martin said. “We always wanted to be on the peninsula. That was a really good footprint to expand.”
The new Kodiak office is attached to the Residential Mortgage office, located at 2011 Mill Bay Road and run by Carrie Morton.
“It seems that everybody we met with is very excited to have another option for a bank and a banker,” Martin said, following a visit to Kodiak last month. Northrim has had Kodiak-based customers before, but “to have a physical spot within a community makes all the difference in the world.”
“We’re in growth mode,” Martin said. “We’re not closing branches. I know that Kodiak has experienced that. We’re going the other way. We feel incredibly fortunate to be in these communities and we have great plans to continue to grow the bank, but we’ll do it opportunistically, as we find people who reflect what we’re trying to achieve what we want for our customers.”
The bank is looking to hire additional staff in Kodiak, but Martin said it may be a lengthy process. “We don’t anticipate timing or how many people. We are starting slow,” he said.
Anderson said the conversation about opening the Kodiak office began late last year. “We are a loan production office, which is very different from a branch,” he said, adding that the focus will be on commercial customers, but he is open to serving anyone in need of a loan.
So far, the coronavirus has impacted Anderson’s work, but as an essential business, he is able to continue helping community members navigate the uncertainty that comes with the pandemic.
“The contacts come a little bit slower because of the virus, but in a way I can offer some help to people. People are used to sending financial statements through secured electronic means, so we’ve discovered that electronic banking is a good thing for situations like this and a lot can be done without face-to-face contact,” he said. “Of course, there’s never a substitute to talking to someone. I prefer meeting with people in person, but right now that has to be put on hold.”
Anderson said Northrim Bank is ramping up to help businesses that are suffering because of coronavirus-related layoffs and closures.
“We are ramping up to handle that onslaught of requests,” Anderson said, adding that the federal government has done “a good job” of responding to the needs of businesses. Anderson has already received requests relating to small business loans, as Kodiak establishments figure out their path forward.
In the long run, the Kodiak community will weather the storm caused by the coronavirus, and rebuild once it is over, Anderson said.
“We will look back at this in six months to a year and say, ‘that was horrible, but we made it through it.’ In the big picture of things, I’m not terribly worried about it. I feel bad about the businesses and employees that are out of work. That’s going to be hard for them,” he said. “There’s a lot of fish that have gone up the creek, and we’ve missed those dollars to be earned. But there’s still a lot of fish out there.”