April 29, 2003 11:00 pm
Todd Gorham, U.S. Bank ().
Todd Gorham, U.S. Bank ().

By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

Bob Dempsey is settling in as manager of the local Klamath First Bank.

But not too settled. As Eastern Oregon regional vice president, he is also manager of branches in Enterprise, Union, Baker City, Ontario and Nyssa, traveling frequently to each branch.

He replaces Charlie Facey, who took another managing position with the bank in Ashland to be near his ailing father.

Dempsey has a background that includes 20 years' experience in the banking business.

He spent four years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Wyoming.

He previously was chief financial officer of a phone company in Idaho.

He is enjoying getting to know the people he works with and meeting bank customers.

In response to an article in last week's local business page of The Observer, Dempsey said that while Klamath First did not now write reverse mortgages he sees these loans as becoming the standard mortgage of the future as the population ages.

In a reverse mortgage, people over 62 who have a large amount of equity in their homes can borrow against that equity to provide them with income.

"It's a good way to retain your home yet use its equity," he said.

The bank does make conventional loans and regular home-equity loans, he said.

Another member of the banking community is coming home. Todd Gorham, a 1985 graduate of La Grande High School and a 1990 graduate of the University of Oregon, recently moved back to La Grande.

Gorham has been appointed vice president and district manager of U.S. Bank's Eastern Oregon Region. This includes overseeing branches in La Grande, Baker City, Elgin, Halfway and John Day.

He has worked for U.S. Bank for more than 18 years, since he got out of college. He previously was the region operations manager for the bank's Oregon and Washington metropolitan regions. Prior to that, Gorham held positions as retail sales manager, senior project manager, marketing manager and commercial account officer with the bank.

He said he would be adding a district financial consultant as the bank makes La Grande its hub for Eastern Oregon. Sandi Erskine remains the La Grande branch manager, he said.

He said he is not related to Todd Gorham of Imbler, who coaches boys basketball in Cove.

Reporting time:

Klamath First Bancorp Inc. has reported net earnings of $962,000 or 15 cents per diluted share for the second fiscal quarter ending March 31. That compares to $1.7 million or 26 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

For the six-month period, net earnings grew 14 percent to $2.8 million or 43 cents per share compared to $2.5 million or 37 cents a share in the first six months of the previous year.

The bank is continuing with a strategy it embarked on two years ago to grow the commercial and consumer loan segments and emphasize core deposits, said Kermitt Houser, president and CEO, from Klamath Falls.

"However, with the current interest rate environment, particularly the last 50 basis point reduction in interest rates last fall, our quarterly results have been disappointing due to the accelerated payoffs of our existing residential loan portfolio before it can be replaced with the targeted assets," Houser said.