Sound Community Bank was honored last week by the Sequim business community for 25 years of working with and giving back to locals.
The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting and open house on May 25 at the Sequim Village Shopping Center location, 645 W. Washington St.
“As a hometown girl, I feel very, very proud,” said Laurie Stewart, president and CEO of the bank, to a packed lobby.
The Seattle-based bank opened in Sequim 25 years ago at its former location, now Sequim Vision Clinic, 541 N. Fifth Ave., and its Sequim Village location has grown into its largest branch, staff said.
About 5,586 households use the branch with about five accounts per household making up nearly $300 million in deposit assets. That’s nearly one-third of the company’s total assets, Stewart said.
The financial success of the bank is partly owed to the Sequim 2000 committee and later the Olympic View Community Foundation, formerly the Sequim Community Foundation, she added.
The bank and foundation partnered in February 1997 to create the Sequim 2000 Visa credit card — now called the Community Card — to support beautification projects in Sequim with a rebate of 1 percent on each purchase.
Stewart previously said the committee wanted to attract visitors and counter concerns businesses would suffer when the U.S. Highway 101 bypass at Sequim Avenue was constructed and diverted traffic from downtown.
The Sequim Community Foundation was incorporated in September 2000 to provide a formal process for awarding local grants. Last week, the bank and foundation recognized $390,358 in giving to the community from the credit card.
Foundation director Sheila Everett said the bank makes a dividend to the foundation quarterly and they’ve provided grants to dozens of organizations for projects for residents of all ages, animal care, art, conservation and more.
“I really believe this bank and the Community Card have contributed significantly to the viability of Sequim,” Stewart said in an interview.
“We could have been a ghost town but it’s an incredibly vibrant community.”
Sound Community Bank has supported several organizations and events through the years, such as the Sequim Irrigation Festival, parallel to receiving national accolades for their growing financial numbers, she said.
“It says a lot you can give away lots of money and still be a top performing bank,” Stewart said.
“People trust us. We make people’s financial dreams come true.”