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Umpqua Bank to close 27 branches

Two Medford and two Grants Pass branch offices are among the 27 Umpqua Bank will consolidate following its acquisition of Sterling Savings Bank, the company announced Monday.

"There are some branches close enough to where you can almost wave to one another across the parking lot," Umpqua spokesperson Eve Callahan said.

In Medford, Umpqua's branch at 809 Stewart Ave. will fold into the former Sterling office at 620 Stewart Ave. Umpqua's 2400 Poplar Drive location, a holdover from its Valley of the Rogue Bank acquisition, will be consolidated into Umpqua's 1211 E. McAndrews Road store in Medford. Both of those moves are scheduled for October.

In September, Umpqua's Fruitdale location in Grants Pass will be consolidated into its 1670 Williams Highway location. That will be followed in October by transfer of the former Sterling office at 598 N.E. F St. to Umpqua's downtown branch at 117 N.E. F St.

Umpqua said the changes were based on factors ranging from convenience for customers to its overall network and proximity to other locations. The bank said the average distance between consolidating locations is 1.1 miles.

In some cases, such as the Poplar Drive location, access to the bank was altered multiple times. In other cases, it came down to traffic patterns.

"We were trying to pick the best of the best locations," Callahan said. "Just like Starbucks, we know there are morning and afternoon traffic patterns. They know what people are looking for."

Overall, 13 consolidations are scheduled in Washington and seven each in California and Oregon.

The Sterling acquisition was the largest in Oregon bank history, doubling Umpqua's footprint to more than 400 locations while boosting its holdings to $22 billion. In the interim, five former Sterling branches in Coos County and one in Douglas County, were sold to Walla Walla, Wash.-based Banner Bank.

The financial firm still will have more than 350 locations in three states. All accounts at consolidating stores will stay with Umpqua and be transferred to the closest location.

Some soon-to-be shuttered locations are owned by Umpqua. Others are leased. The bank owns the property on the southeast corner of Poplar Drive, while it leases its Stewart Avenue location.

Umpqua has more than 200 open positions throughout its footprint, Callahan said, and will actively help employees find positions in a neighboring location or elsewhere within Umpqua. The company has opened career centers in Portland, Seattle, Spokane and Roseburg to aid in developing digital tools.

"We tried to keep as many positions open as possible, knowing this would happen," she said. "In every merger we try to find a position within Umpqua. When we acquired Humboldt Bank (in Eureka, Calif.), there were 102 employees. Two retired, and we found positions for 96."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.