New community bank comes to Enumclaw

A digital rendering of the Commencement Bank

After nearly nine years without a community bank in Enumclaw, Commencement Bank will be stepping in to fill that role.

Commencement Bank, which opened up a loan building on the corner of Cole and Myrtle in June 2014, bought the former Monticello Coffee Bar building across from the police station Dec. 10 to establish itself as Enumclaw’s new community bank.

The building itself has a long history with banks, which is why Commencement Bank bought the building (it comes equipped with a vault). It was built by Cascade Security Bank in 1964 and sold it to Americans Savings Bank in ’78. After the American Savings was bought by Seafirst Bank around 1990, the building was sold to the White River Credit Union in 1992. It became a high-end coffee bar in 2009, staying open for almost a year before closing, and the building has remained empty until now.

“Most people ask, why Enumclaw? What we always said was, we are going to find a banker that has a strong position in a market and build a box around that person,” said bank CEO Hal Russell. “And we got lucky, because we have Kirk Parce and Sue Androsko.”

Parce, who will be in charge of the new Enumclaw branch, started his career with Enumclaw’s Key Bank branch in 1989. He moved to the Mount Rainier National Bank in 1994 and then to the Bonney Lake Kitsap Bank in 2005.

“When Mount Rainier National Bank sold to Columbia Bank (in 2007), the community lost it’s community bank,” Parce said. “Mount Rainier was a very good community bank. People long for that. So we feel we are going to fill that void very well.”

Commencement’s loan support specialist, Adrosko, started as a teller in 1983 with Cascade Security in town. She started working with Mount Rainier National Bank in ’97 and stayed through its merger with Columbia Bank until 2014, when Parce asked her to come on board.

“Out customers are important. Enumclaw is important,” Adrosko said. “I liked the basis of community banking, and I feel we can be the heart of this town.”

The bank plans to open its doors by June 1.

The building in Enumclaw will be the bank’s second “brick and mortar” branch, as Russell put it. The bank’s first building opened in Tacoma Dec. 11, 2006.

The Enumclaw branch will open with the same bells and whistles most banks have now (mobile checking, drive-through window, after-hour ATM access) but Russell says it’s not what the bank does that makes them different, but how they do it.

One of the main differences between Commencement Bank and other national banks, marketing manager Galen Annest said, is Commencement doesn’t have sales goals for its tellers.

“When you come in and you talk to one of our tellers, they’re only there to find what is right for you,” Annest said.

Another difference, Russell said, is Commencement wants customers or people with questions to talk to live tellers, not automated machines, especially over the phone.

“You’ll always get somebody,” he said. “And if you’re unable to reach that person, you’ll get their voicemail.”

“People are what makes the difference,” he said.