"They truly understand and hold the pulse of our customer base. (Suggestions for improvement) aren't coming from just the top but all around."
Mathews said the change in operations for customers wouldn't be seen right away, but those who are working on it are excited.
Faster loan OKs
One result of the plan could reduce waiting periods for loans from several days to a few days or even hours.
First Federal has not enacted an initiative like this before.
"All successful businesses must review their business model and proactively make adjustments," Lowman said.
"That's all we're doing."
Mathews sees the bank's initiative as an opportunity for growth.
"The world is talking about banks closing, but this is putting us in a position to thrive," he said.
"(The initiative) will prepare us. You have go through a storm to see the rainbow."
Mathews said concern among customers is high due to the large number of stressed banks in Washington.
"In 30 years, I've never experienced so many questions about how safe our money and banks are," Mathews said.
Local for 87 years
He and Lowman believe customers are educating themselves before switching services.
"It's a flight to quality.
They are finding other banks aren't as strong, so they come to us," Lowman said.
First Federal has been in business for 87 years. Mathews said staff and customers take pride in the hometown bank.
"We are a privately and locally owned bank," he said.
"That rings a little truer in the minds of the consumer. We're not forced to make decisions to affect our next quarter's earnings."
"When we make decisions, we're not pressured by shareholders," Lowman added.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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