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2020 in review.

Picture of Mark Mason, CEO of HomeStreet Bank

CEO of HomeStreet Bank, Mark Mason, reflects on a year unlike any other in our history.

 

 

As a CEO, the first quarter of every year is the perfect time to look ahead and keep your team and the company focused on the right things. Yet this is a year like none other, given the one we’ve just endured; as such, it’s also a time of reflection. As I consider the year now behind us, I am reminded that even amid a worldwide pandemic, widespread protests, and a record number of U.S. storms and wildfires, there is much to be thankful for.

 

At the top of the list are you – our loyal customers. I recognize the inconvenience of “banking by appointment” and yet you’ve risen to the challenge. You’ve called ahead or you’ve turned to our digital banking channels. Thanks to you, we’ve effectively protected our “essential workers” — our bankers and tellers — who thankfully continue to adorn masks and embrace copious amounts of hand sanitizer to show up every day to serve you at our 62 branches throughout Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. 

 

I’m also thankful for our commercial and retail bankers. They were there for those of you who are local businesses owners, large and small, in the communities we serve. 2020 was traumatic, particularly for those dependent upon in-store activity to drive sales. Between mandatory lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and the politicization of mask wearing; retail, restaurants, and hospitality establishments have been especially hard hit. In response, the federal government approved the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in April – a loan program designed to help small business get through the pandemic by providing funds to keep your employees on the payroll. Our team of bankers helped process 1,850 PPP loans last summer and we are ready to do it again with the announcement of the second draw PPP program.

 

During a year when interest rates fell to historic lows, our HomeStreet loan officers made more than 6,500 mortgage loans, originated $520 million in residential construction loans, and originated commercial loans totaling nearly $2.1 billion. These loans funded needed housing and commercial projects, financed home purchases, refinanced existing loans, and saved our clients millions of dollars in interest.

 

During it all, our employees continued to stay active in our communities by volunteering more than 6,000 hours of service; in addition, HomeStreet donated more than $1 million in charitable funds to support neighborhood organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA – organizations that support the basic needs of our communities.

 

As you can tell, I am proud of our bank’s ability to serve our communities, despite the challenges. We were there for our customers because our business strategy, risk management, and customer service culture positioned us to handle the crisis. Our financial results allowed us to lend more, take better care of our employees, and give back more to our communities than we planned. We remain financially strong.

 

It’s now 2021 and this is a year of celebration for us. It marks our 100th year anniversary! I am honored to be leading a company that has made it into the rare “Centennial Club.” We’ve been here for our customers through wars, depressions, recessions, and pandemics — and we plan to do the same for many years to come.

 

Thank you again and I wish you a happy and prosperous new year!

 

Mark Mason
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
HomeStreet, Inc.

 

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