By DeAnn Rossetti
Banner Bank’s senior vice president of its East Metro Division, Phil Corneil, cut the ribbon at the Mercer Island branch’s official grand opening on Thursday, Feb. 17.
Branch manager Pam Goulder welcomed the crowd by noting that the bank’s commitment is to bring neighborhood banking to the community.
“We’ve been having fun, incidents included,” Goulder said, referring to the bank robbery that occurred on Monday, Feb. 14 at the branch.
Deputy Mayor Bryan Cairns said: “Sorry for the welcome you had the other day. These things happen, and hopefully never again.”
Cairns commented on the new construction enlivening the downtown business core.
“Your bank is part of the upsurge that we have going on here,” said Cairns. “I hope you’ll be here a long time.”
Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce President Edward Maloof also commented on the robbery.
“I’m sorry also for your `welcome,”’ Maloof said. “I used to think that no one would do that here, because there’s only two ways on or off the Island.”
As an Island native, Maloof recalled Mercer Island in the 1940s, when his parents moved here.
“Out there in Mercerdale Park and nearby used to be the Lucas farm, and this (bank) building used to be a gas station,” he said. “The Island has really grown and I think this is the perfect-sized bank to grow with it.”
Maloof then welcomed the bank to the chamber, and gave the Banner Bank manager a copy of “Dawn on Mercer Island,” a historical overview of Mercer Island on DVD.
Corneil welcomed the crowd by joking: “Try us, you’ll like us,” and went on to comment on how the Island had changed in the 25 years since he’d worked here.
“The sense of community and vitality really struck me,” Corneil said. “The landscape is changing downtown, and it’s exciting for us to be part of that. We’re anxious to be part of the Mercer Island community.”
“We’ve opened five new branches in the Puget Sound area in the last few months, but opening a branch on Mercer Island has been a long-term objective for us,” said Bruce Clawson, senior vice president and division manager. “We’re glad to be here and especially fortunate to find an experienced staff who have been in this market a long time. There’s nothing like seeing a familiar face in a close community like this.”
The new 4,000-square-foot Banner Bank facility offers a full range of services, from drive-up banking and safe deposit boxes to night drop and drive-up ATM. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bank is located at 2918 78th Ave. S.E.