Kitsap Bank celebrates 95 years in Port Orchard

As of Friday, Aug. 8, Kitsap Bank had been doing business in downtown Port Orchard for 95 years. To put the number in perspective, that’s two months before the first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line in Detroit.

Kitsap Bank marked the occasion with all-day celebrations at its branches.

“We’re proud of our history and grateful for the support we’ve received over these many years from the communities we serve,” said Kitsap Bank President Jim Carmichael. “This is a special time for our employees and customers, who are responsible for the bank’s success.”

Earlier this year, Kitsap Bank, which operates 26 offices and 36 ATMs, broke the $500 million threshold for deposits.

In the late spring of 1908, Jacob Firth, a Seattle Financier, and three Port Orchard men — George E. Miller, Peter Nordby and Superior Court Judge John B. Yakey — met to organize the Kitsap County Bank. Nordby was elected the bank’s first president at the meeting.

The bank opened its doors August of 1908 in a small concrete building at the corner of Bay and Frederick Streets in downtown Port Orchard. Peter Nordby served as president from until 1915 when Thomas Ross took over the leadership of the bank and served for another six years.

By the 1960s and ’70s, Kitsap Bank had begun to establish branch banks. Many of the larger banks in the Seattle area were beginning to do that and Kitsap County was enjoying a period of economic and population growth.

In the 1970s the Silverdale, Gorst, Bangor and Bainbridge Island branches were opened. The Bangor branch was opened at the same time Kitsap Bank moved its main office from its original site in Port Orchard to its current Bay Street waterfront location.

In the 1980s, branches were opened at South Kitsap Mall, Kingston, and a branch at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. In 1983 the institution purchased two thrift branches in Bremerton and Poulsbo.

During the 1980s, Kitsap Bank started a mortgage company (Kitsap Mortgage Co.) in Silverdale. The bank also changed its name to “Kitsap Bank” dropping the word “County” from its name.

In the early 1990s, Kitsap Bank grew by more than 90 percent with assets reaching $300 million. In 1993 its services were expanded beyond Kitsap County by opening a branch in Gig Harbor.

Kitsap Bank then expanded into Clallam and Mason counties, opening the first branches, called “Olympic Bank” in Port Angeles and a Kitsap Bank branch in Belfair, in 1995. The Sequim office of Olympic Bank was opened in 1996.

In 1997 the bank acquired the National Bank of Bremerton. The purchase increased Kitsap Bank’s assets to over $400 million and added an additional branch in Bremerton, Sheridan Village, and Allyn.

The opening of the Central Kitsap branch in March 1997, and Bethel and Lund and West Bremerton in 1999, brought the bank’s total branches to 19.

More expansion occurred during 1999 as Kitsap Bank moved into new territory. The bank opened Olympic Bank and mortgage offices in Bonney Lake in Pierce County, and Federal Way in King County. The offices are presently for approving and processing loans only.

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