In the wake of the banking crisis, officials at the Bank of Eastern Oregon have modest plans for the future - at least until the economy strengthens.

According to CEO George Koffler and President Jeff Bailey, anything they might do to augment their current business model would include filling in holes rather than expanding the bank's reach.

While the bank isn't on the verge of adding new branches, when it talks about filling in holes, the refererence is more toward remote banking centers. In Spray, for example, BEO operates an ATM to help customers who would otherwise have to travel to branches in John Day, Heppner or Fossil.

"Technological advancements will have a tremendous impact on remote banking centers," said Koffler. "There are now smart ATMs that can accept cash and check deposits and do practically anything else. In some places, you can even buy theater tickets from an ATM."

It's obviously much more cost effective to expand the bank's footprint if an outlet doesn't always require stationing personnel there.

Bailey, 43, says right now the bank is busy taking care of business and the communities where it has a presence.

"Excesses have never been a part of our corporate culture, so that's not a problem for us," said Bailey. "We're more interested in being good neighbors and involved in the places where we live.

"We also realize we make an economic difference in small communities."

For example, BEO has 21 people employed at its corporate headquarters in Heppner and another 12 people at the Heppner banking center.

Koffler points out wherever the bank has branches, it seeks to keep staffing in proportion to the size of the branch and its volume.

Dick Krebs of Arlington, whose father John was one of the original founders of the bank in 1945, gives a lot of credit to Koffler for "making it a fine bank."

"George and the other people at the bank used common sense," said Krebs. "Now the bank has become one of the shining stars among other banks. Actually, a lot of little banks have done a good job in that regard.

"The big banks are the ones who have the problems now. Maybe they could learn something from the little ones."

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