Banks have changed hands over the years

It's sad to see PremierWest Bank going away. When I first moved here 30 years ago, I banked at Jefferson State Bank. It seems like the only locally owned bank left will be People's Bank of Commerce. How many local banks were there here in 1980?

— Michael D., Medford.

Local banks were actually plentiful when you moved here, Michael.

By our count, there were a half-dozen banks calling Jackson County their home in the early 1980s.

You might need a scorecard to keep track of where they ended up. Here we go:

There was Bear Creek Valley Bank in Phoenix, which merged with Valley of the Rogue Bank in 1983. Later Valley of the Rogue Bank became part of Umpqua Bank. Central Point State Bank became Crater Bank in 1986, which was acquired by Western Bank in 1992. Later, of course, Western Bank was taken over by Washington Mutual, which gave way to Chase.

Heritage Bank, in Ashland, also was acquired by Valley of the Rogue Bank in 1983. Jefferson State Bank, located on East McAndrews Road, was bought by First Interstate Bank, which later became Wells Fargo. Like many others, Medford State Bank wound up in the Valley of the Rogue Bank portfolio in 1987.

For anyone who might not have been paying attention in recent weeks, PremierWest Bank will become part of Spokane-based AmericanWest Bank. Stockholders approved the deal in late March.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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