Ray Sprung, a man with banking experience all over the United States, has been hired by Community Bank as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Sprung started his job in the new position in the bank's Joseph headquarter branch Jan. 10.

Sprung takes over much of the day-to-day operation of the bank from Bruce Penoske, who continues as bank president and chief executive officer. Community Bank has grown from two branches in Wallowa County when Penoske took over what was then Bank of Wallowa County 13 years ago to 13 branches in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington, with about 120 employees. The bank was founded in Joseph 50 years ago.

"You have an incredibly solid bank. This was a very good opportunity," Sprung said about his new position, adding that the view of the Wallowa Mountains from his office window was also an incentive.

He appreciates the fact that while Community Bank has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, it also "wants to stay true to its roots" in Joseph

Sprung noted that the bank's growth has resulted in it being involved in bigger and more complex loans that require a different way of looking at the loan structure. Sprung brings that kind of expertise to Community Bank with a background of over 30 years in banking.

A native of San Francisco, Calif., Sprung graduated from San Jose State University in 1972 with a B.S. degree in finance and accounting. He started his career as an auditor with the Bank of America in San Francisco. Through the years he worked for big banks in New York City, Boston and Chicago. He spent 10 years as senior vice president and division manager with Hibernia Bank in New Orleans, La., and the past two years as vice president of loan administration with Riverview Bank near Vancouver, Wash.

Sprung and his wife, Kay, have five grown children and 10 grandchildren with the 11th due anytime.

Side by side with his banking career, Sprung was also a professional soccer referee for 20 years. In the past he enjoyed riding horses and hopes to renew that interest at his new home.

"I'm looking forward to spending time getting to know the people here, continuing the bank's growth and having fun," Sprung said.

Community Bank board of directors chairman Don Swart Sr. said that Sprung's big bank background in loan administration made him an especially good fit for Community Bank's new position. "He has a lot of banking experience in banks a lot bigger than ours, and his expertise was where we need it," Swart said. "He comes with excellent recommendations."

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