1st Security Bank ranked #1 in Washington State

Date : 03/24/2015

Washington's top banks: Things have improved dramatically since the failure of WaMu Mar 11, 2015


Federal regulators seized Washington Mutual's assets on Sept. 25, 2008 in the largest bank failure in U.S. history. Washington state's banking industry has never quite been the same. But it has recovered, and things are looking up. That's according to Kirk Briden and his company, St. Louis-based Bankers Caddy, which watches the industry closely and ranks banks based on 19 different factors, including liquidity, growth, loan portfolio and other relevant factors. By his evaluation, Washington's banks are looking pretty good, especially considering the state's history. "In general the banking industry is getting a lot better in your area," Briden said. Because of the way he ranks them, banks in smaller communities tend to do better. They have less competition for the best loans, so they can turn away customers that banks in more heavily populated areas might accept. That means banks in cities tend to hold more risk in their loan portfolios. "In a more rural area – if they're the only player in town, they can make the loan pricing a little higher," he said. "The more competitive a market is, the harder it is to rank high." So why does it matter? If you're a business looking for a loan, you want a bank that's in good shape. Banks that are not performing well can have issues with regulators, which can make it more difficult to work with them. "When you start running into trouble, regulators often define a very narrow box to confine [the bank] to," he said. A bank can look great in earnings by taking any loan that comes in the door, Briden explained, but when you evaluate a bank, it's important to look at how strong their loans are, how much capital they have, and if they can sustain losses.

Here are his rankings for the top 25 banks in Washington state:

1. 1st Security Bank of Washington, Mountlake Terrace, Assets: $500 million

2. Cashmere Valley Bank, Cashmere, Assets: $1.3 billion 3. Banner Bank, Walla Walla, Assets: $4.5 billion 4. Fife Commercial Bank, Fife, Assets: $84 million 5. Puget Sound Bank, Bellevue, Assets: $388 million 6. First Savings Bank Northwest, Renton, Assets: $931 million 7. Community First Bank, Kennewick, Assets: $274 million 8. Sound Community Bank, Seattle, Assets: $495 million 9. Farmington State Bank, Farmington, Assets: $11 million 10. Yakima Federal Savings and Loan Association, Yakima, Assets: $1.8 billion 11. Washington Trust Bank, Spokane, Assets: $4.8 billion 12. Columbia State Bank, Tacoma, Assets: $8.6 billion 13. Washington Federal, Seattle, Assets: $14.5 billion 14. Islanders Bank, Friday Harbor, Assets: $247 million 15. Sound Banking Company, Lakewood, Assets: $49 million 16. Commerce Bank of Washington, Seattle, Assets: $888 million 17. UniBank, Lynnwood, Assets: $232 million 18. Peoples Bank, Bellingham, Assets: $1.4 billion 19. Farmers State Bank, Winthrop, Assets: $30 million 20. Pacific Crest Savings Bank, Lynnwood, Assets: $188 million 21. Liberty Bay Bank, Poulsbo, Assets: $76 million 22. Inland Northwest Bank, Spokane, Assets: $421 million 23. Wheatland Bank, Spokane, Assets: $341 million 24. AmericanWest Bank, Spokane, Assets: $4.2 billion 25. Skagit Bank, Burlington, Assets: $810 million

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