By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

With Klamath First completing its purchase of 13 branch offices of Washington Mutual in the state, there are some changes in management.

Charlie Facey, who has a banking background in northern California and southern Oregon, now occupies the managers office at the La Grande Town Center branch.

He will fill a position as regional vice president of the company, overseeing the La Grande office and eight other branches in the area.

Former manager Bob Ullan, who became manager of the local branch in August 2000, will now be in the commercial lending division as a senior lender, along with Grant Holman, Facey said. Ullan has 28 years in the banking business and worked in real estate for five years.

Facey said he has been with Klamath First, based out of Klamath Falls, for four years. He started with Bank of America in Yreka, Calif., in 1978, and has been in the business since.

Facey spent the last four months at a Klamath branch in Lakeview and was in a Medford branch for the three years before that, he said.

Facey took over at the

La Grande office on Sept. 6 but has been doing a lot of traveling to get acquainted with the various branches. He spent some time at a training session in Redmond recently.

Ill be traveling a lot, to all the branches I oversee, he said. In the recent sale was a branch in Baker City. He will also direct operations at the Union, Enterprise, John Day, Burns, Prairie City and Nyssa outlets.

The latest acquisition of the 12 Western Bank branches and one Washington Mutual financial center from Washington Mutual Bank gives the corporation 54 branches in Oregon, Facey said.

Klamath First president and CEO Kermit K. Houser said, Were not only adding branches to our network, were boosting our commercial lending abilities significantly. These new branches support our previously announced strategic goals of becoming a stronger commercial bank, giving us a loan portfolio that includes 65 percent commercial, commercial real estate and industrial loans.

The transaction included $423 million in deposits, loans of approximately $186 million, the branch buildings and fixed assets, and 136 branch bank employees.

Facey said, Were committed to serving the communities. Thats why we have branches in such places as Prairie City and Pilot Rock. A lot of times, were the only banks available in such towns.

One local change will have the La Grande outlet making more mortgage loans, Facey said.

Western Bank was not in the mortgage business here, but Klamath First has a large number of such products, including commercial and residential mortgages and consumer loans, Facey said.

Klamath First Federal specializes in mortgage lending.

With the latest drop in interest rates, Facey is offering 30-year home loans at 6.25 percent, he said.

We have a full line of banking services, including checking and savings accounts for both individuals and businesses.

Also available is 24-hour telephone banking and online banking with bill-paying through its Web site: www.

Facey and his wife, Sharon, live near Summerville. They have an 11-year-old daughter, Courtney, who is in sixth grade.