As the calendar flipped from July to August, another chapter in Yakima’s downtown banking story began — with the return of a former Yakima banking executive.
Idaho Falls-based Bank of Idaho completed its acquisition of five HomeStreet Bank locations July 29, including the 424 E. Yakima Ave. downtown branch.
Bank of Idaho also purchased HomeStreet locations in Sunnyside, Dayton, Kennewick and Spokane.
Leading the move is Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard, who formerly served in that role at Yakima National Bank.
Newgard helped a similar transition nine years ago, when Yakima National and Seattle-based Fortune Bank were acquired by HomeStreet Bank in 2013. Yakima National locations in Yakima, Selah, Sunnyside and Kennewick became part of the HomeStreet network, also based in Seattle.
Fast-forward to 2022, and Newgard said the five Eastern Washington HomeStreet locations are a good fit for Bank of Idaho. The acquisition was announced in May, and progress on converting the banks to their new network went smoothly, he said.
“We couldn’t be happier with the transition,” Newgard said. “Staff members on both sides of this deal have been going the extra mile to make sure the customer experience is as seamless as possible.”
Customer impact will be further minimized because staff members at all five branches will continue working at their respective posts, a situation confirmed by Kari Palmer, branch manager of the Yakima Avenue site.
Newgard said the acquisition was an appealing endeavor because Eastern Washington is similar to Idaho in its support for agriculture and local business and its small-town sensibility.
“The people of Idaho and the people of Eastern Washington are connected by our values and our way of life,” Newgard said when the deal was announced. “We jumped at the opportunity to serve people who understand and appreciate our community-first approach to banking. And as a result, our united footprint will mean stronger opportunities for everyone.”
Bank of Idaho opened 37 years ago in downtown Idaho Falls, where headquarters remain, and has expanded to include 11 full-service locations and five mortgage offices across the state of Idaho.
Plenty of banking options downtown
The new Bank of Idaho branch is one of 14 full-service banks with locations on a one-mile stretch of Yakima Avenue (or immediately adjacent to it).
Beginning at Fifth Avenue and moving east to Naches Avenue, a variety of local, regional and national banks are based downtown, including:
• Solarity Credit Union, 110 N. Fifth Ave.
• Columbia Bank, 10 N. Fifth Ave.
• Banner Bank, 502 W. Yakima Ave.
• US Bank, 404 W. Yakima Ave.
• Heritage Bank, 301 W. Yakima Ave.
• Cashmere Valley Bank, 127 W. Yakima Ave.
• Wells Fargo, 101 E. Yakima Ave.
• Key Bank, 102 E. Yakima Ave.
• Northwestern Mutual, 117 E. Yakima Ave.
• Yakima Federal Savings and Loan, 118 E. Yakima Ave.
• Wheatland Bank, 201 E. Yakima Ave.
• Chase Bank, 211 E. Yakima Ave.
• Bank of Idaho, 424 E. Yakima Ave.
• Bank of the West, 522 E. Yakima Ave.
Many of these locations include a drive-through, ATM and lobby. There are also several businesses, such as the QuickStop at 702 W. Yakima Ave. and 7-Eleven at 801 E. Yakima Ave., with ATMs inside.