Supporting Our Community’s Future Through the OBA Education Foundation

At Willamette Community Bank, we take a keen interest in the future of our community — and the industries that support it. As banking professionals, we understand the critically important role community banks — and the banking industry at large — play in keeping local economies focused on growth and expansion.

Through lending to fiscally responsible borrowers, banks help foster economic health by assisting local businesses in buying new equipment, expanding facilities, hiring additional staff, and implementing new processes to boost success. They provide a wide array of services to all customers, from typical checking and savings functions to personal and business loans and investment opportunities.

In addition, community-based banks provide specific advantages to their local communities, including:

  • Matching interest rates to community needs by paying higher interest rates to savers
  • Offering a greater sense of security by knowing their customers
  • Providing funds using nontraditional criteria for underwriting
  • Lending economic stability by assisting diverse, vibrant local businesses
  • Strengthening a sense of community through familiarity with community businesses, residents, and local needs

In Oregon, community banks bring 5,400 family wage jobs to the state and safeguard $21 billion in deposits in addition to writing $1.4 billion in small business loans and extending $6 billion in credit.

Perhaps most importantly, these banks contribute $4.9 million to nonprofits and community sponsorships and they — and their employees — provide 64,000 volunteer hours per years helping local organizations thrive.

To keep this fine tradition of community banking — and banking in general — strong in Oregon, Willamette Community bank proudly supports the efforts of the Oregon Bankers Association Education Foundation.

How the Oregon Bankers Association Education Foundation Helps Enrich Our Banking Community

Organized by the Oregon Bankers Association in 2013, the Oregon Bankers Association Education (OBA) Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting educational resources and development opportunities for the next generation of banking leaders.

In keeping with its mission, one of the Foundation’s goals is to raise awareness about career opportunities in banking and support the commercial banking curriculum at Oregon universities.

In addition, the Foundation works hard to foster interest in banking and finance by participating in a number of programs designed to increase awareness of opportunities in banking and finance across a diverse and inclusive public sector.

Here are a few examples of the Foundation’s outreach:

Partnerships with Universities

The OBA Education Foundation partners closely with Oregon State, University of Oregon, and University of Portland to enhance awareness of career opportunities in the banking field and support the development of curricula that support careers in the field of commercial banking and finance.

Additionally, the Foundation hosts roundtable events that introduce students to bankers to foster engagement and interest in banking careers. These roundtable events also provide a personal touchpoint, allowing students an up-close look at the realities of a career in banking and an opportunity to ask targeted questions of banking professionals.

Workforce Development

By sponsoring BankWork$, a program that helps adults from minority and low-income communities prepare for careers in the financial services industry, the Foundation fosters an interest in banking in a diverse cross-section of our communities.

This diversity further ensures that future banking leaders will be able to represent the communities they serve more fully.

Also, the Foundation makes scholarships available to high-potential employees in the financial services industry to assist with higher education costs.

Financial Education

It’s never too early — or too late — to develop strong financial practices or an interest in a career in banking and finance.

The OBA Education Foundation supports Financial Beginnings, a nonprofit program that delivers free financial education programming to young people and adults.

This education, made possible through volunteers, helps empower these individuals to take control of their financial futures. Many of the volunteers responsible for the success of this initiative are bankers themselves, providing a crucial touchpoint for eager learners.

The Foundation also supports JA Finance Park, a Junior Achievement program focused on bringing financial literacy to middle and high school students and highlighting the value of education for a brighter future.

They also sponsor the Mexican Consulate’s Financial Opportunities Fair, a free event that helps individuals and families get access to safe, reliable financial products and services to promote financial inclusion. Claudia Cabrera Vasquez, the Consul of Community Affairs for the Mexican Consulate of Portland notes that the Foundation’s contribution helped them to serve more than 700 people.

Through these programs and others, the OBA Education Foundation seeks to deliver the right education, opportunities, and encouragement to foster and develop the next generation of banking leaders.

Willamette Community Bank Proudly Supports the OBA Foundation

At Willamette County Bank, we have a vested interest in ensuring that next generation of banking professionals will be there to continue to provide value and service to our local residents and businesses.

In keeping with this philosophy, we proudly support the OBA Education Foundation through sponsorship and volunteerism. In fact, our President and CEO, Joan Reukauf, sits on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, helping to steer the organization to future success.

Along with the Foundation, we believe that all Oregonians should have access to financial education and security and we fully support them in their endeavor to create a vibrant and diverse banking and business community that will attract — and empower — the greatest talent for the future service of our community.

If you’d like to learn more about the OBA Education Foundation you can visit their webpage at

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