Spokane Journal of Business

HomeStreet’s new home in downtown Spokane

Bank adds first retail presence in Spokane, moves commercial lending in city’s core

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-—Samantha Peone
After operating mortgage lending offices in the Inland Northwest for about a decade, HomeStreet Bank has added a downtown Spokane office that houses both retail banking operations and its commercial lending services.
-—Samantha Peone
HomeStreet Bank’s Steve Storey and Jennifer Walter say in addition to its new presence in Spokane, the company plans to launch a new mobile banking app in the next few months.

Following the launch of commercial lending services here barely two years ago, Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank recently opened its first retail branch in Spokane, where it has consolidated both its commercial and retail services, says Steve Storey, senior vice president and commercial lending market leader here.

Storey and Jennifer Walter, Eastern Washington district manager for HomeStreet Bank, both are based at the new, 3,400-square-foot retail branch in the Lincoln Building, at 818 W. Riverside. Six employees work at that location, which opened its doors on Dec. 15. 

“It’s a little bit back to the future … where we have retail and commercial combined, collocated in one facility,” Storey says. “We work as a team and are very appreciative of what everyone else is doing in the office. It all has to work together to best serve our clients, and at the end of that day, that’s what it’s all about.”

The bank continues to operate its Spokane-area home loan centers, located at 201 W. North River Drive, just north of downtown Spokane, and at 16114 E. Indiana, in Spokane Valley. Another home loan center operates at 1900 Northwest Blvd. in Coeur d’Alene. The commercial lending team, which launched in Spokane February 2016, previously worked out of the 14th floor of the Wells Fargo Center, at 601 W. First, before relocating to Riverside in December.

Walter says commercial banking services include commercial and industrial loans, commercial real estate financing, business acquisition assistance, business advice, and other investment and insurance services.

On the retail banking side, services available include business and consumer accounts, mobile and online banking, and consumer lending options such as home equity lines of credit, automobile loans, boat loans, and recreational vehicle loans, she says.

HomeStreet also offers home lending and other banking-related services through its local home loan offices, she says.

Separately, HomeStreet plans to launch mobile banking application Zelle in the next few months. The app, a product of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Early Warning Services LLC, enables users to wire money instantly from one bank account to another user’s account, no matter what company they bank with. 

Walter says the app is handy for routine transactions such as going out to lunch.

Both Walter and Storey decline to disclose local revenue but say it’s projected to increase this year.

The bank’s parent company, HomeStreet Inc., reported corporatewide 2017 net income of $68.9 million, or $2.56 a diluted share, up from 2016 net income of $58.2 million, or $2.34 a share, in 2016.

As of Dec. 31, corporatewide loans totaled $4.5 billion, up from $3.8 billion a year earlier, and deposits totaled $4.8 billion, up from $4.4 billion a year earlier. 

Currently, home-equity loans and credit cards are the most commonly sought products at HomeStreet’s Riverside branch, Walter says.

Storey, who has held executive positions in private banking and wealth management with three other financial institutions, has nearly 40 years of financial services experience. Between Storey and the two other commercial lending associates at the Riverside location, the team has more than 95 years of experience in financial services, he says.

The commercial lending branch here has been “doing very well,” he says.

“It’s a very competitive market in commercial lending, but we’re carving out a niche. Everything’s on track, and we’re actually ahead of (new client growth) expectations at this point,” he says.

Storey declines to provide a client number, but says the bank is in a visible location that attracts foot traffic and brand awareness.

Walter says, “I think we’ve been very lucky in opening a branch to get the walk-in traffic that we do.”

Some clients of the retail and commercial banking location have worked previously with one of the local home loan offices, which have been in the Spokane market for nearly a decade, she says.

While the company has established a retail presence here, it’s most well-known for providing home loans, she says.

Shawn Sterling, branch manager of the home loan office at North River Drive, says the number of home loans the company handles in Spokane County has stayed relatively consistent in recent years. He predicts they could decrease in the coming year. That’s because the economy has improved, says Sterling, meaning the Federal Reserve is leaning toward a more normalized monetary policy. That will result in rising mortgage rates, he says.

In October, the bank’s parent company HomeStreet Inc. announced a company-wide layoff totaling 133 workers in the mortgage banking segment by the end of its fourth quarter. 

“You could have that same press release from just about anybody,” says Sterling. “The mortgage environment went away from refinances and went more toward a purchase market. It just means that there’s less volume.”

A representative for HomeStreet Bank says one person in Spokane was laid off, but the bank has hired three more employees here since then.

Established in 1921, Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank operates in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest, its website indicates.

As of Dec. 31, the bank reported corporatewide assets of $6.7 billion, had more than 2,400 full-time equivalent employees. At that time, it operated 59 retail branches, 44 stand-alone home loan centers, and six commercial loan centers.

Samantha Peone
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Reporter Samantha Peone joined the Journal in 2015 as research coordinator before later transitioning into a reporter role. She covers real estate and construction.

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