Business

Boise bank founder Perez jumps to Bank of the Cascades

Rob Perez told the Statesman in 2014 that he saw risky banking practices returning to the industry as it recovered from the financial crisis. He’s shown above in his office at Northwest Bank headquarters in east Boise. “Banks are making loans that don’t have appropriate equity, real equity,” he said.
Rob Perez told the Statesman in 2014 that he saw risky banking practices returning to the industry as it recovered from the financial crisis. He’s shown above in his office at Northwest Bank headquarters in east Boise. “Banks are making loans that don’t have appropriate equity, real equity,” he said. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Rob Perez has left the Boise commercial bank he founded to become Idaho regional president of the growing Bank of the Cascades.

Perez said his decision to leave Northwest Bank was “extremely difficult.” He said growth in the Seattle and Portland markets created challenges for the bank.

“Northwest Bank is a great bank,” Perez told the Idaho Statesman on Thursday. “I’m still a shareholder. I’m still invested on a financial level. But it appeared to me the commitment to the marketplace seemed to have waned, particularly relative to some of the metro markets where Northwest now exists.”

After rising through the ranks at Idaho First National Bank and U.S. Bank, Perez founded Western Capital Bank in Boise in 2008, as the nation was falling into recession.

Four years later, his bank bought and adopted the name of another commercial lender, Northwest Bank. Perez’s role changed from president of the bank to president of the Idaho division. In 2014, the bank bought Regal Financial Bank in Seattle, a small commercial bank, for a foothold in that market.

In 2014, Perez told the Statesman that Northwest was a “boutique or niche play.” The bank serves exclusively business accounts and holds $450 million in assets.

Koenig said Northwest Bank remains committed to the Treasure Valley and expects to see 12 percent asset growth there in 2016.

“[2015] was one of the best years we’ve ever had in Boise, as well as bank-wide,” Koenig said. “It was a record year in nearly every category.”

Bank of the Cascades is a larger bank with a full slate of retail products. Based in Bend, Ore., Bank of the Cascades has grown to $2.5 billion in assets and operates 42 locations in Idaho and Oregon, including 12 in the Treasure Valley. It is larger than any Idaho-based community bank or credit union.

Bank of the Cascades ’ assets grew from about $1.4 billion to nearly $2.4 billion when it bought Nampa-based Home Federal Bank in 2014.

Perez succeeds the retiring Mike Mooney at Bank of the Cascades.

Bill Koenig, CEO and president of Northwest Bank, said he was sad to see Perez go and that the bank is searching for Perez’s replacement.

“We will hire locally in Boise,” Koenig said. “We will not go outside of the region.”

Perez, 59, said he hopes Bank of the Cascades is his final career destination.

“I don’t know. That’s certainly my intention,” he said.

Perez has been active in the Boise business community, holding prior or current leadership roles with the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Arid Club, the City Club of Boise, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the Urban Land Institute, the Boise State University Foundation, the Boise State University College of Business and Economics Advisory Council, Capital City Kiwanis, the Idaho Community Reinvestment Corp. and the Greater Boise Auditorium District.

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