Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, April 5 2012 at 4:44 PM, Updated: Thu, April 5 2012 at 4:55 PM
Klamath Falls only locally-owned bank is being sold to Washington Federal.
South Valley Bank and Trust President Bill Castle says the sale comes at the right time for the nearly 400 shareholders of the company...
"Our owners have suffered just like many others in this recession, in that there's been very little liquidity in their investments, no dividend payouts."
News that South Valley will soon be Washington Federal has caught many customers like Ike Shirts off-guard...
"Hopefully, they'll be just as good a bank as this one." Shirts has been banking with South Valley for about 5 years, and describes the experience as 'real good'.
Bill Castle notes that South Valley employs 275 people at their two dozen branches...
"As with any merger transaction, you would expect that there would be a certain level of consolidation and displacement. But on total, we expect our employees to go forward with Washington Federal."
Ike Shirts hopes that Washington Federal will still have free checking...
"Some of these banks, will give you free money to open an account, but then they get that back in a year by charging your for having a checking account."
Castle says the changeover will take about 4 months...
"In due time, we would expect our banners to change to Washington Federal, our signage - South Valley Bank and Trust name goes away."
South Valley Bank opened in 1977.
Under the sale agreement, South Valley shareholders will get between 33 and 39 million dollars worth of Washington Federal stock.
The merger will make Washington Federal Oregon's seventh-largest bank.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.