AFCM Interviews Town Center Bank President Bruce Bryant
An interview with Town Center Bank President Bruce Bryant about the bank’s Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) is a snap: he’s bright, cheerful—it is apparent he thoroughly enjoys his work—and he is all business. The native Oregonian has been a banker for 35 years, serving as president and chief executive officer for three different community banks in Oregon over the last 23 years. Talking with him about Town Center Bank’s HSAs, he does not mince words and he comes across as the sort of banker who sits at the counter of the local coffee shop—like you could have a cup of coffee with him and talk about everything from next year’s projected sales to your kid’s science project.
But his small-town, old-fashioned banker exterior doesn’t mean he is not competitive. Sharp, knowledgeable and realistic, Bryant is quick to credit a lone bank employee with bringing HSAs to Town Center Bank and he is well aware that HSAs are an important free market alternative to government-run health care.
Bruce Bryant serves on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Bankers Association and he is president of the Independent Community Banks of Oregon. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the North Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce and he is a past State Director for the Independent Community Banks of America, a national association representing over 4,500 community banks. Bryant, who is married with two children and three grandchildren, is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Portland State University.
Town Center Bank—which one of the small bank’s customers dubs “banking the way it should be”—is located near Portland, Oregon.
AFCM: What did you first think of HSAs?
BB: Our Vice-President and Area Marketing Manager, Darlene Weisen, championed Health Savings Accounts [HSAs]. Darlene’s been with the bank for about two years. She had come to me and said that an insurance agent had talked to her about such an account and, after she did her homework, she said it was something we should look at. Meanwhile, the insurance agent client told her that he was selling a lot of the [HSA-compatible] policies. When I learned what they were talking about, it was easy to see that HSAs match up with our target market really well—the small business that has up to 50 employees with up to $10 million in sales. That’s kind of our sweet spot.
AFCM: Typically, who invests in the bank’s Health Savings Account?
BB: After attending a presentation by Darlene, one of our board members who’s a fruit and vegetable broker with 30 employees, said ‘that really makes sense’ and he funded each employee’s Health Savings Account with $2,500 [per employee]. Another customer was a winery with 15 employees. Like all small businesses, they were concerned about making sure their employees have medical coverage and they’re seeing their [health insurance] cost go through the roof. They see the benefit of a high deductible plan for their employees. They bought the insurance through one of the agents we deal with and now 100 percent of their employees have an HSA. Another customer is my dentist. Much to my chagrin, I had never been able to attract him as a customer of the bank. As I was sitting in the dentist’s chair the other day, the hygienist told me that he had opened up HSAs for his practice’s employees—through Town Center Bank.
AFCM: How do employers respond?
BB: It’s all pretty positive.
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