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New bank offers $2 million in stock

Initial sale's speed surprises officers

After selling $4 million in stock in — 1/2 weeks, the organizers of People'sBank of Commerce will offer another $2 million in stock.

(We) had originally anticipated that the stock sale might takeup to four months, said Mike Sickels, chief executive officer. Hesaid investors who assumed the stock would be available for several monthsmissed out on the offering.

He said the number of shareholders and the average investment were closeto the organizers' estimates.

We expected 300 to 350 investors, Sickels said. Wehave 300 now and will add another 50 or 100. It's local people, and a lotof them bought 100, 200, 300 shares.

It was the speed of the sale that surprised them.

Our timing was perfect, he said. We were surprisedby the number of people who said they are 100 percent behind another communitybank, that they are so disenchanted with their relationship they have withthe big banks.

Nobody is saying anything bad about the other community banks,he added. There's a lot of grassroots support out there for communitybanks.

The value of stock in other Rogue Valley banks has climbed in recentyears. Klamath First Bancorp stock, offered at $10 a share in October 1995,has doubled. Valley of the Rogue Bank's stock has also doubled in that time.

Since the initial public offering in 1991, stock in the Bank of SouthernOregon has climbed from the split-adjusted price of $2.38 a share to $15a share.

It trades by appointment, and there's a waiting list, saidDick Davidson of A.G. Edwards & Sons. The only sellers are whensomebody needs money to pay taxes or somebody dies or needs to buy a car.It's never had a downtick.

Fitz Brewer at Strand Atkinson Williams & York Inc. said the prosperityof local banks in the healthy local economy probably was a factor in theswift sale of the stock.

It's kind of a frenzy, he said. But I've seen it gothe other way for banks.

The People's Bank of Commerce board of directors authorized the saleof another 200,000 shares for $10 each, the same price as in the initialoffering. Sickels said no additional regulatory approvals are involved inthat move.

Sickels said the regulators are eager to see higher capitalization. Theiroriginal $3 million plan was nudged upward by the state Division of Financeand Corporate Securities.

And the additional shareholders expands the potential customer base,he added.

The minimum investment in the new bank is $1,000. The organizers aremarketing the offering without going through an underwriting brokerage.Details are available at the bank's temporary office, 10 Crater Lake Ave.,Suite 23, or by calling 776-5350.

Sickels and bank president Ken Trautman, both longtime Western Bank executives,announced plans for the bank in May.

The bank's office at the intersection of Biddle Road and Market Streetis under construction. It's scheduled to open in December.