For Immediate Release
March 1, 2021
Contact: Joe Postlewait
Oregon Coast Bank
Toledo, OR – The pandemic may have inflicted a heavy toll on the national economy, but some financial indicators in the Toledo area are clearly positive. Jami Tough, Branch Manager of Oregon Coast Bank’s Toledo office, reports that recent consumer and business lending activity has actually been higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“The Federal Reserve Board has been attempting to stimulate the economy through exceptionally low interest rates,” explains Tough. “Many local families and business owners are taking advantage of the opportunity and applying for mortgages to purchase properties. We’re also doing a lot of remodeling and construction loans.” Because of the pandemic, consumers are spending less on vacations and in many cases investing those dollars in their homes. “We just completed a loan for a family that decided to add an indoor swimming pool,” comments Tough. “I guess when travel is so difficult, you can instead turn your home into a resort.”
In addition, the reductions in interest rates have produced a major influx in refinancing throughout the country. Tough, who has managed Oregon Coast Bank’s Toledo office since last spring, points out that “people seem to understand that with rates this low they may be able to cut down the length of their mortgages or reduce their payments.”
PPP (SBA Paycheck Protection Program) loans continue to provide vital funding for local businesses. Oregon Coast Bank has completed hundreds of the loans for both existing customers and for new customers who were having difficulties obtaining PPP loans through other banks. “Those PPP loans have allowed hundreds of local people to keep their jobs and have kept many area businesses financially healthy,” says Tough. “We’re glad to do them and we also help our customers qualify for the forgiveness clause that have made PPP loans so popular.” Current PPP funding is available until the end of March, so Tough urges business owners considering the program to contact the bank as soon as possible.
Asked if federal coronavirus stimulus payments to individuals have had a positive economic impact, Jami Tough mentions: “We’ve had a number of customers call us for car and truck loans.” Although car manufacturers typically advertise special low financing, those rates often come at a substantial price in that they prevent the buyer from qualifying for the maximum rebates. “When you get pre-qualified for auto financing at your bank, you essentially become a cash buyer, which gives you negotiating leverage and allows you to receive the highest possible rebates,” explains Tough. “It also reduces the time people have to spend at dealerships.”
It was however another positive financial indicator in the Toledo area that brought the biggest smile to Jami Tough’s face. “During December, the bank hosted a silent Christmas tree auction for the Mrs. Santa Claus Organization, which does an amazing job in our community,” she recalls. “Everything was donated and over $10,000 was raised. That’s a fantastic response, especially with all the Covid restrictions we’re all dealing with.”
Locally owned and operated, Oregon Coast Bank operates offices in Toledo, Newport, Waldport, Lincoln City, Tillamook and Pacific City. The bank, which manages over $344 million in assets, has provided more than $800 million in loans to Lincoln and Tillamook County families and businesses.