CenterPointe Community Bank (OTCPK: CENP)

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September 24, 2012 Issue

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With an Experienced, High Performing Management Team that is committed to Building a Safe and Sound Bank, Oregon Chartered CenterPointe Community Bank has proven to be a Profitable Financial Institution during a Soft Economy

Company Profile:
CenterPointe Community Bank is a State of Oregon chartered and FDIC insured community bank. In 2006, a group of organizers elected to seek a state bank charter for a new bank to be headquartered in Hood River, OR, and designed to initially serve the Hood River and The Dalles areas within the Gorge. Following the application submittal in December 2006 to FDIC and State Regulators, the new bank charter was approved, and in April 2007, the Board of Directors and senior management were selected. This led to the opening of CenterPointe Community Bank on September 4, 2007. Our second office in The Dalles, Oregon was later opened in July 2008. In 2012, the Bank purchased a building in Bingen, Washington and received an approved charter to open another branch. Currently the bank has an ATM and night drop in this building.


CenterPointe Community Bank is the only locally owned community bank headquartered in the Columbia River Gorge region. Its designated service area encompasses Wasco, and Hood River counties in Oregon, and SW Klickitat County in Washington.

Mahlon Vigesaa
President/Chief Executive Officer

Mahlon Vigesaa, Vice Chairman/President /CEO, has over 35 years of banking experience. Prior to organizing CenterPointe Community Bank, Mr. Vigesaa served as Executive Vice President at Imperial Bank, a $7.5 billion commercial bank based in Los Angeles, California. Prior to that position, he was Senior Vice President and a key member of U.S. Bank’s management team, from 1994 to 1998 in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Vigesaa began his banking career with Valley National Bank in Arizona. Mr. Vigesaa has been a resident of the Northwest for over 18 years and currently resides in Hood River, Oregon.

Regional – Pacific Banks

CenterPointe Community Bank
2500 Cascade Avenue
PO Box 270
Hood River, OR 97031
Phone: 541-308-1300


Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – September 24, 2012

CEOCFO: Mr. Vigesaa, would you give me a little background on CenterPointe Community Bank?

Mr. Vigesaa: We opened our doors about five years ago. Our bank is a small community bank consisting of three counties and about 20,000 people in each county. Our branches are located on the edges of the Columbia River, which is the main river flowing into the Pacific Ocean and divides Oregon and Washington. As such, many tourists visit the area for wind surfing in the summer months and skiing during the winter as we are very close to Mt. Hood.


Wine tasting is another local attraction. Orchards are our oldest industry having probably one of the larger pear orchards in the United States and many vineyards supporting the wine industry. We also have a great amount of technology companies in our area, which we call the Columbia River Gorge. On the Oregon side of the river, we have one other larger community bank, which is headquartered in Tacoma Washington.

CEOCFO: Why did you decide to open the bank when you did?

Mr. Vigesaa: We started our planning to establish a de novo bank in 2006 and after a great deal of research, we felt the Gorge area was somewhat under-banked, the market area was quite vibrant and a new bank would have opportunities. We also thought this community had a wonderful lifestyle being in a smaller rural area, yet quite close to a metropolitan area.


We were well on the way in getting our bank charter before the downturn of the economy. Upon receiving our charter, we made some modifications to our business plans, adjusting to the softening of the market. We have been able to grow close to our original plans for loans and deposits, but perhaps different loan concentration levels. Our profitability has been nicely on track, above our financial targets.

CEOCFO: Was the community excited when you opened the bank?

Mr. Vigesaa: Our main competitor at that time was a locally owned community bank that was in the market for over 30 years. They were highly supported by the community and highly thought of, so when we first opened here, there was probably not a strong feeling by the community that another bank was needed.


However, this started to change as this main competitor bank was beginning to have financial difficulties. It somewhat affected the level of service they could provide and they were limited on providing credit to customers as in the past. This bank later failed and as a result, the FDIC assisted the sale of the bank to a larger out of state community bank.


The community became to embrace the “new bank in town” and loved the service that they used to get. Our bank employees are involved in most community activities. The community now has a high respect for us and they love the bank and our employees.

CEOCFO: What is different when someone comes into CenterPointe?

Mr. Vigesaa: Our employees acknowledge and provide a very sincere welcome to each customer coming into the branch. I receive comments all the time about how nice of an experience it was coming into the bank. Each branch has a fireplace and seating area to welcome our customers. Coffee and cookies are also available when our employees are taking care of our customer’s banking needs.

CEOCFO: What is the breakdown between consumer and commercial and would you like to see the mix changing?

Mr. Vigesaa: CenterPointe mainly focuses on commercial, agriculture, and business customers; however, we also provide consumer services. Our loan portfolio is primarily commercial (90%/10%) and our deposits are fairly evenly mixed, perhaps 60%/40%.

CEOCFO: How do you attract new business, particularly people that might be using the bigger banks or maybe bank where they work as opposed to in the local community?

Mr. Vigesaa: Our marketing slogan is “Buy Local. Bank Local.” Having the only locally owned bank headquartered in the Gorge, we market to our deposit customers that keeping their money local helps the local economy.


CEOCFO: Are there products or services that you are not offering now which you would like to add?

Mr. Vigesaa: We look forward to offering merchant remote capture in the next several months. Having this product will attract those potential customers who would benefit from the time and costs savings of not needing to come into the branch to perform their daily banking needs. We will also be looking into mobile banking services next year.

CEOCFO: You mentioned that you have stayed on track with your timing projections. Did you change your plan and strategy?

Mr. Vigesaa: Early on, we changed some of our strategies due to the down turn of the economy. We pulled away from the residential construction due to risk factors and became heavier in other lending areas. Our profitability targets remain close to our original plan.

CEOCFO: How did you reassure your customers especially during the early years when everything when many people were really scared?

Mr. Vigesaa: We were fortunate to hire local experienced bankers who were well known within the community and had the trust and confidence of our customers. We hired both a local chief credit officer and a chief financial officer that are well known for their expertise.

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about how you are able to serve your agricultural customers well as that industry has some unique challenges?

Mr. Vigesaa: Our lenders are very knowledgeable in the agriculture industry in our area. Many have grown up in the area, therefore have specialized in agriculture fields.

CEOCFO: What is your strategy going forward?

Mr. Vigesaa: Our strategy is more of the same. We will keep on improving our image. We will serve our communities as well as we can. Our growth will be quality growth, not just growth for the sake of short-term profit. Steady quality growth is what we are looking for.


CEOCFO: What are your biggest challenges or concerns about the current environment?

Mr. Vigesaa: Without a doubt, it is the regulatory environment. As you are aware, there is a tremendous amount of regulatory requirements for banks. This will become very costly. We think it will not lighten up it will only get worse, so this is probably the biggest issue in the future.

CEOCFO: What is the financial picture like for CenterPointe Community Bank?

Mr. Vigesaa: In my mind, our future looks great!

CEOCFO: Why should investors pay attention to CenterPointe Community Bank?

Mr. Vigesaa: Our bank has proven itself a profitable financial institution during a soft economy. Our Board of Directors have approximately 45% ownership of the company and are very involved in the oversight of the organization. Our management team is well experienced, high performing, and committed to building a safe and sound bank.


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Our management team is well experienced, high performing, and committed to building a safe and sound bank. - Mahlon Vigesaa does not purchase or make
recommendation on stocks based on the interviews published.