To most of us, a bank’s a bank. You probably chose yours because it was close by or offered free checking. After signing up, you never gave it another thought. After all, with modern technology, most of us barely set foot inside our banks unless there is a problem. That’s when who you bank with makes a difference. Even if you don’t have a problem, sometimes what you need is just someone to answer your questions. And customer service is where Security State Bank’s value shines through.

Security State Bank on Old Main Street
Security State Bank Main Branch in Chehalis in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy: Security State Bank Archives.

When the bank was incorporated in 1903 – the same year as Ford Motor Company and the Wright Brothers first flight – they started as a small, local bank that was owned and operated by members of the community. More than 110 years later, the bank has expanded to 11 branches as well as commercial loan, mortgage and trust offices, but it’s still locally owned and operated. Since 1910, the bank has only had four presidents. This is not just a coincidence – community is behind every business decision they make.

“We live and breathe the community and respect that,” says President Dwayne Aberle. “We can only be successful if the communities we are in are successful.”

Of course, they offer the same services that all major banks do – personal checking and savings accounts, long-term savings including CDs and IRAs, health savings accounts, and business services including checking and savings and loans. Something you don’t see often is trust services – a sign they are very much a part of helping the community plan for the future.

While respecting their past as a small town bank, they’ve also embraced 21st century technology. They offer mobile banking and you can even take a picture of your check to deposit it, just like with big banks. And just like with large banks, you don’t have to step into their banks either, they love to see customers face to face.

Security State Bank
A few of the original, local employees at Security State Bank circa 1903. The bank has always hired locally. Photo courtesy: Security State Bank.

“We tell people who open accounts to come in to their branch a few times, to get to know us and so we can get to know them,” says Aberle. “This way, in case there is a problem, we know them and can help easier.”

Imagine having a person you can turn to, not an automated banking system transferring you to someone who lives in another state or even another country. To those people, you’re just a number. At Security State Bank, when you call a branch or the 800 number, an employee from the branch or at their Customer Care Center in Centralia answers the call, ready to assist you. For customers who prefer to use an automated system to check balances or transactions, the bank offers that service too.

But it’s not just times of crisis that Security State Bank has its customers’ best interests at the forefront. It’s in every facet of their lives. From the little boy opening his first savings account to the small business owner just getting started, to the seasoned owner getting ready to pass their business on to the next generation, Security State Bank can help where big chain banks can’t because they are completely local.

For example, if you’re looking for a business loan, you don’t always have what big banks desire – they have a “box” they must fit your loan into and if you don’t fit, they’ll deny you. After all, they have hundreds of thousands of customers and you’re just one. But since they are local, Security State Bank has the ability to adapt to fit the customer’s needs, allowing more people to follow their dreams.

Security State Bank on Gold Street
Security State Bank’s Gold Street branch as it stands today. Photo courtesy: Security State Bank.

“Say there’s a small business guy that needs a special payment structure or collateral structure – if we can understand it, we can probably do it,” says Aberle.

Employees of the Security State Bank embrace their company’s philosophy and are involved in many aspects of the community – Kiwanis, 4-H, Little League, United Way, Relay For Life – you name it they are on the boards, have kids involved, help fundraise and more. The bank supports them all.

If an employee is involved – we try to help, Aberle adds.

It’s that community feel, of knowing your bank cares about you, not just your money, which sets them apart from the others. You won’t be just a bank account number with them, but family, part of a wider community.

For more information, you can visit Security State Bank’s website or call 800-242-2036, but they hope you’ll just drop by and say hi.

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