AK Pacific Bank opens 2 branches

New offices expected to pick up business of KeyBank customers in Hoonah, Yakutat

Posted: Thursday, December 07, 2000

Customers of a large national bank in two Southeast communities will find themselves without local branches after Friday.

But Juneau-based Alaska Pacific Bank will reopen in the former Hoonah and Yakutat KeyBank locations on Monday.

Alaska Pacific won't take over the savings and loan accounts, and will open essentially as a new business in those locations, said Craig Dahl, Alaska Pacific president and chief executive.

Alaska Pacific has seven branch offices: three in Juneau, two in Ketchikan and one each in Sitka and Wrangell. The bank is one of the smallest in the state with reported assets of $132.8 million at the end of the third quarter of 2000, up from $125.2 million for the same period last year.

By comparison, KeyBank's parent company, KeyCorp, has assets of about $85 billion, a network of about 2,500 automated teller machines and offers a large variety of services through its operations in 46 states, 14 of which have banking offices.

KeyBank's roughly 1,800 accounts in Hoonah and Yakutat will be transferred to the bank's Juneau branch.

Dahl said he expects nearly all of the accounts in Hoonah and Yakutat to switch over to Alaska Pacific, adding about $10 million to the bank's deposit assets over the next few months. Dahl said he believes there is more untapped business in the small towns, which will help the bank grow further.

The small number of accounts, about 1,800 between the two fishing communities, didn't warrant the cost associated with switching the accounts automatically, Dahl said.

"A small conversion costs almost as much as a large one," said Mike Burns, KeyBank's Alaska district manager.

The two branches were the smallest ones in Alaska, he said.

Burns said the branches needed some capital improvements and KeyBank is looking to expand elsewhere in Alaska.

"You do have to make a decision where you deploy your capital," he said.

KeyBank will still have 18 "Key centers" statewide including two in Juneau, one in Ketchikan and a new one opening soon in Soldotna.

The transfer completes a circle for both the offices and Dahl.

Dahl said he helped open the Hoonah and Yakutat offices in the mid-1970s when he worked for the small, Juneau-based B.M. Behrends Bank.

KeyBank bought the regional Behrends bank in 1989, ending a 99-year history of family ownership for what was then the state's oldest bank. Behrends at the time had $60 million in assets.

Five offices were included in the Behrends buyout; two in Juneau, and one each in Hoonah, Yakutat and Klawock on Prince of Wales Island, said Deborah Sakamoto, bank spokeswoman. The Klawock branch closed soon after the purchase was completed, she said.

Now, 11 years later, the Hoonah and Yakutat branches again will belong to a small, Juneau-based regional bank.

"We've been interested in both of these offices for quite some time," Dahl said.

Mike Hinman can be reached at mhinman@juneauempire.com



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