When Rick Pitts picks up the phone, the caller on the other end may be a local investor that he’s known for years, or an Olympia business owner that’s a long-time Oly Fed customer.
As the Chief Lending Officer for Olympia Federal Savings, Rick works closely with established businesses and investors who are looking to purchase a building. “With commercial real estate lending, we are looking particularly at properties and buildings with income potential. We aren’t focused on the business inside it but rather if the building is a good loan decision,” explains Pitts.
To meet the needs of customers, Oly Fed has added a Commercial Real Estate Lending Officer, Chad Yerrington, to work with customers from beginning to end. Local property owners can now turn to Rick and Chad for loans on purchasing multi-family apartment buildings or office spaces.
The range of customers that Rick and Chad work with varies greatly. They’ve seen everything from a ‘mom-and-pop shop’ that want to buy rental property to supplement their retirement income, to an investor who wants to build office space for a Washington State agency.
Oly Fed is especially good at managing commercial construction loans. While the local bank is hesitant to loan on speculative projects, it’s not uncommon for a group of professionals to approach Rick or Chad with an idea for a multi-use space.
“We might get together with a group of physicians and dentists that want to create a separate company to purchase a building and then rent the space back to their practices,” Rick explains.
Whatever the reason, Rick and Chad are ready to answer the call and help walk customers through the commercial lending process.
“I like to think of Oly Fed as your ‘grandfather’s bank,’” Rick says with a smile. “You don’t necessarily have to go through all the rigmarole as you would a larger bank. We know the people we deal with and have developed long-term relationships.” Pitts noted that Oly Fed is working almost 100% with local, Thurston and Mason County individuals.
Those relationships have been a critical piece of Oly Fed’s success in the community. The team’s longevity at Oly Fed is another factor that leads to repeat customers, often over multiple generations.
“Our lending process is easier (than big banks) because we can walk customers through the ‘ins and outs’ of the process,” Rick adds.
The personal relationship extends beyond the phone. Customers are welcome any time to visit Rick or Chad. “People know that they can call and talk to us directly. During a commercial transaction, it helps to know that you will get a personal response fast,” Pitts says.
With a focus on lending in the Thurston and Mason county area, Rick says that Oly Fed has the expertise in this market to make solid lending decisions. “We know the dynamics and can sometimes foresee things that may be hidden to an investor. Sharing this knowledge is a benefit to our customers,” he explains.
Oly Fed is a portfolio lender, holding all their own loans and not selling them on the secondary market. This is a great way for investors to feel confident that Oly Fed is making a loan decision based on the specific project and not any secondary market criteria.