VP, Branch Manager/Business Development Officer
When Lori Gates started at Oregon Pacific Bank, company headquarters was in a trailer in a Florence parking lot. As the bank has grown over the years to have branch offices in five communities, Lori’s career has grown along with it.
“I got a job here, and it changed my life,” Lori says.
She’s done a little of everything at the bank since she began in 1980. She started off as a teller, and she enjoyed building rapport and relationships with customers. “I didn’t want to do anything else. I loved my job,” she recalls.
Later, she made the move to Merchant Services and found she loved that job, too, for many of the same reasons. She enjoyed working with customers onsite and helping them get their businesses set up to handle financial transactions. “That was my passion,” Lori says. “I’ve gotten to know so many businesses and owners in the community.”
Now, Lori is relishing her role as a Florence branch manager and makes herself available to answer any need or question that comes up. “I love helping people,” she says. “I’ve never woken up and said, ‘I don’t want to go work.’”
One of the things she looks forward to every year is the ice cream social held in Florence around the 4th of July. Last year, because of COVID-19, it was a drive-through event. But in past years, customers came by to visit in the lobby and enjoy ice cream and conversation. Lori dresses in red, white and blue for the occasion.
“I enjoy functions like that, doing something fun for the community,” she says.
Lori stays active supporting the community outside of her job at the bank, as well. She serves on the board for the Florence Rotarians and is an advisor for the Interact youth club, which carries out multiple service projects every year to aid the community.
Lori has also served on the board for Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Lane County. In addition, she helps teach financial literacy classes to high school students and seniors. One message she focuses on is how to prevent falling prey to scams. She says she sees far too many people who are victimized by fraud.
“If someone calls or sends an email, don’t give out any financial information,” she says. “Do your own research and look it up separately.”
She tells people to reach out should they ever have any need help in handling finances and avoiding fraud. “If you have any questions, or there’s anything you don’t understand, we’re here to help you.”
Lori appreciates how OPB encourages employees to be involved in civic organizations for the betterment of employees and community alike. She enjoys staying busy with her community service work and taking time to relax with her family at home.
Looking back over her career, Lori has seen a lot of change. She remembers keying in stacks of checks by hand, but now everything is done electronically. Sometimes change can be challenging, but she always strives to keep a positive attitude. And she’s proud to be a part of Oregon Pacific Bank.
“I still love this bank,” Lori says. “I love my job.”
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