Columbia Bank

Columbia Bank in Concrete is closing Friday. Burlington-based Savi Bank intends to open a branch in its place.

CONCRETE — While Concrete’s only bank — Columbia Bank — is closing for good Friday at 3 p.m., another bank is planning to open in its place.

Burlington-based Savi Bank has filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) to establish a branch at 45872 Main Street in Concrete, where Columbia Bank is now.

Columbia Bank announced its decision to close the branch in April, leaving residents and business owners worried about losing the town’s only bank.

“We’ve kind of said as a community bank, it was the right thing to do,” Savi Bank President Andy Hunter said. “It would be shame they would be left without a financial institution.”

Hunter said the hope is to open the new branch in September, pending FDIC approval.

“They have said they will expedite it,” he said. “We’re hoping it means it will get done in the next couple weeks.”

Concrete Mayor Jason Miller said being without a bank would have been an economic blow to the town.

“For businesses that need to work with cash on a daily basis, it would have been untenable,” he said. “We were also very concerned that once people were forced to bank downriver, they would lump in all of their other shopping, and it would just slowly kill the town.”

The new branch will save residents a trip into Sedro-Woolley every time they want to bank, Miller said.

“It’s wildly awesome news,” he said.

Hunter said Savi Bank has been “growing extremely fast.” An Anacortes branch opened Monday, bringing the total branches in Skagit County to five.

“One of the opportunities we felt we had was with the sale of (Skagit Bank), it left a pretty big hole for a community bank in Skagit County,” he said.

Among the reasons Columbia Bank has given for closing the Concrete branch are declining foot traffic and the increase in online banking.

“It would be fair to say that Columbia Bank was very cooperative with us to allow us to buy the building and to be able to do it as quickly as we possibly could,” Hunter said. “It was good for everybody.”

Hunter said Columbia Bank’s Concrete branch employees have been invited to work at the new Savi Bank branch.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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