The legacy of Peoples Bank speaks for itself with decades of dedication to serving local communities. With the opening of a brand-new Loan Production Office in Moses Lake, Peoples Bank continues to strengthen the foundation it built over a century ago. Commercial Banking Officers Griselda Lopez and Teddy Bakke recently sat down with ColumbiaBasinTalk to discuss the branch’s grand opening and how it will serve the Moses Lake community.
In January of 1921, Peoples Bank established itself in the picturesque Western Washington town of Lynden, west of the Cascades and near the Canadian border. Since Irwin LeCocq Sr. took the helm in 1938, followed by his son Irwin LeCocq Jr. in 1967, and his son Charles LeCocq in 1987, the family has led Peoples Bank to what is now an institution worth $2.8 billion in assets and 25 office locations across Washington.
The true core of Peoples Bank lies within the relationships with its customers and employees. Its “People First” philosophy is illustrated in the devotion it has toward its clients, employees, and the communities it serves.
Griselda and Teddy strive to bring healthy competition alongside Peoples Bank’s unwavering values to Moses Lake.
Growth and development in the community and local economy are also vital to its mission. “This region is new to Peoples Bank, so right now we’re focused on investing in the community and getting our name out there,” says Griselda. “We are also looking at how we can provide the greatest value for the community. Peoples Bank started in agriculture, so we’re definitely interested in working with customers in this line of business. However, regardless of the industry, the better we understand this market and the more we grow, the better we can serve the financial goals of customers here in Grant County.”
A long-time commercial lender, Griselda offers a deep understanding of the support local businesses require. “I have worked in banking for my entire career, in different capacities,” she says. “I have been in the commercial lending world for the last 10 years and my biggest strength is my ability to listen to my customers to understand what they truly need.”
She also stresses the importance of getting to know a client to help them make the best business decisions, rather than worrying about “getting the deal done.”
As a small business owner herself, Griselda has a firsthand appreciation for the challenges small business owners face. “I understand the dedication it requires to be successful,” she says. “I truly admire people who take that on.”
Bilingual in English and Spanish and possessing a strong background in accounting, Lopez brings a unique skill set to the industry. When she’s not working, she indulges in her love of music and her passion for exercise.
Also bringing deep banking experience to Moses Lake, Teddy started his financial services career in retail banking and began working in commercial lending during the pandemic. “In a matter of weeks, I secured about 300 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for customers across Wenatchee, Quincy, Ephrata, and Moses Lake,” he says. “I later joined Peoples Bank in a commercial lending role where that experience was extremely valuable.”
Teddy loves learning about different industries and businesses and getting down to the details of how things work. In his free time, he enjoys golf and is known to take clients with him to enjoy a round.
Even though the Moses Lake branch is a Loan Production Office, it delivers a full relationship customer experience. The office offers a variety of loans toward commercial interests and small businesses, as well as real estate and construction loans, and works seamlessly with other Peoples Bank branches to provide a range of banking products and services — basically anything aside from cash handling.
“If a commercial client needs an auto or personal loan, it’s a very quick and easy connection with our Wenatchee teammates,” Lopez says. “We’re also a Small Business Administration (SBA) preferred lender, which means we can make in-house decisions on small business loans without having to send them off for review by the governmental agency.”
Peoples Bank looks forward to building lasting relationships with local businesses in the Moses Lake community.
“Having a small community bank in a rural area brings financial expertise to the marketplace and a dedicated team of banking professionals who live and work in the community too,” says Griselda. “Other banks want you to meet them where they want to meet. Peoples Bank meets you where you want to meet.”