Business

New Poulsbo bank to advocate for businesses

POULSBO — A new bank is about to find its home on the shores of Liberty Bay, and investors are being sought as preparations continue for a spring 2008 opening.

Ending the image of bankers sitting feet-up behind mahogany desks, clouded in a smoke of ambivalence, Liberty Bank is on its way to becoming a community-serving agency with solutions, involvement and understanding of clients’ needs.

With a board of directors stemming almost completely from North Kitsap, the bank is now awaiting its field audit from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Between $11.5 and $14 million in capital will be raised, and the bank is already a quarter of the way there, said Chief Executive Officer and President Bill Fogarty.

Now, investors interested in having a hand in the start of a bank focused on customer service have the chance to step up and join. Fogarty said the entire program is in the refinement process; 15 months of hard development work have gone into creating a bank catering to North Kitsap needs. He said Liberty Bank looks to not just fix quick, one-time problems, but become a trusted advisor to local businesses and individuals, raising the bar on banking and offering a full array of services, including help structuring credit portfolios.

“Banks have kind of become order takers,” he said. “We want to be able to provide our clients with a solutions-based bank.”

The many years of varied experience shared by the bank’s founders and directors will provide extra value to its clients, and the local area will be a major focus in operations, Fogarty said.

“We really want the community to feel it’s a place they can come,” he said. “The reason we think we’re going to be successful is that no one’s a number with us.”

In the business hub Poulsbo has become, local ownership is a key factor in the void Liberty Bank hopes to fill.

“We really feel that there’s a missed niche,” he said. “We’ll be the only community-owned bank in the North county and we’re really proud of that.”

The bank will offer a full spread of consumer products, including checking, savings, certificates of deposit, an automatic teller machine network and online banking.

“We want them to be able to bank when and where they want to bank,” he said. “We’re going to be very highly technological.”

Liberty Bank also plans to offer educational seminars for consumers and businesses as well, and a community boardroom with kitchen access and space enough for 20 people. Also available will be a business center with Internet access, copy and fax machines, carrier service, remote deposit and scanned transactions. Each bank employee will be working for every client, Fogarty said.

“We’re going to be an organization that is appreciative of our clients and also our employees,” he said. “Without them walking in the door there is no Liberty Bank.”

Fogarty said Liberty Bank is expected to open April 1, 2008, and the buzz has already begun about the community’s new addition.

“People are really excited that there’s a new bank,” he said. “We wish it were April 1st now.”

The bank will be located on 7th Avenue, and an open floor plan is in the works.

For more information on becoming an investor, contact Liberty Bank at (360) 779-4567. An investor event is scheduled for Jan. 22.

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