Bank of Eastern Oregon, a 63-year old financial institution, is opening a bank branch in Enterprise.

The temporary branch will be located at 103 Highway 82, Suite 3, in Enterprise, the location of its current loan production office. The branch is expected to open in October. A search is underway for a permanent location and the permanent branch is expected to be open in the fall of 2009.

Hiring of staff will take place during August. In addition to current employees John Bailey and Bob Williams, it is expected that two or three employees will be added to the temporary facility.

The bank's entry into the county started in May of 2007 when Bailey and Williams started a loan production office. After generating more than $12 million in loans, a decision was made to apply for a branch designation to generate deposits to support future loan growth.

Bank of Eastern Oregon started in Arlington in 1945. Its headquarters are in Heppner, a small rural community much like the communities in Wallowa County.

The bank's footprint is in nine eastern Oregon counties with a total of 11 branches and three loan productions offices. There are more than 380 shareholders with no one owning more than 5 percent of the stock and 60 percent of the stockholders living in Morrow and Gilliam counties.

A recent edition of US Banker magazine placed Bank of Eastern Oregon 44th out of the top 200 community banks in the entire United States in return on equity over the previous three-year period. Bank of Eastern Oregon also is designated as a well-capitalized bank by the FDIC.

"We are excited about opening a branch in Enterprise," said CEO, E. George Koffler.

"We are bullish on eastern Oregon and the prospects for business. You'll find us to be a good addition to the business community, creating jobs and adding to Main Street," he concluded.

President Jeff Bailey, a Wallowa County native added, "You will find us to be a good corporate citizen, willing to lend talent and money to worthy community projects and helping the area grow."

Both Bob Williams and John Bailey are equally enthusiastic.

"This branch will add to the existing products and services we can offer to current and prospective customers," said Williams. "This will enable us to give the best in customer service and expand our presence in the area," added John Bailey.

Investor information, annual reports, products and services and other information can be found at the bank's Web site at (www.beobank.com).

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