To say that Vern Woods is a “people person” may be an understatement, so it comes as no surprise that he is excited to see Edmonds opening back up for business after many months of lockdown.
A banking professional in Edmonds for more than 25 years, Vern joined Peoples Bank five years ago as Branch Manager of the Mill Creek branch and was immediately tasked with opening and leading the Bank’s Edmonds branch. Under Vern’s leadership, the Edmonds branch opened in July 2016 and moved to its permanent location at 201 Main Street in September 2019. In March, Vern was promoted to District Manager, with four other branches now under his purview.
Vern now has responsibility for Peoples Bank branches in Ballard, Magnolia, Mill Creek, and Snohomish, but it’s clear he thinks of Edmonds as home.
“To me, Edmonds is unique,” Vern says. “It’s a beautiful place, our branch has a great staff, and the customers are special. They’ve been with me for 25 years, so in many ways, it’s a bit like family.”
Reflecting on the past year, with all the changes and uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Vern is proud of how well the Bank transitioned to serving its clients remotely. At the same time, he looks forward to things getting a bit more normal.
“We managed to do a lot of business virtually, but I’m ready to go back to in-person,” says Vern. “Believe it or not, I’ve started shaking people’s hands again! It puts ear-to-ear grins on people’s faces, and I like that!”
Although the Peoples Bank Edmonds branch has been open to in-person customers since September, Vern observes that foot traffic has begun to pick up again only recently. As the city opens back up, Vern realizes that people are not all at the same comfort level and wants customers to know that he will meet them wherever they are. That could mean driving to a customer’s home to deliver documents in need of a signature. In one instance, he even referred a client who emerged from an extended lockdown to his barber for a much-needed trim!
As an active member of various community organizations, including the local chapter of the American Red Cross, the Edmonds Lions Club, and the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, Vern is looking forward to seeing some of the local activities and events sponsored by Peoples Bank resume, even if they’re not fully back to their pre-COVID levels.
“We’re sponsoring the somewhat scaled back Edmonds Arts Festival in August and the beautiful Cascadia Art Museum. Last month we had a great time sponsoring the Sorticulture Garden Arts Festival in Everett.”
“We all want things to be the way they were before COVID-19. We want to have our favorite shops and restaurants open, our community festivals back, and have fun socializing safely with our friends and families,” Vern reflects. “As restrictions are lifted, I can sense that the mood is being uplifted as well. Downtown, I see more people walking around without masks on saying hi, waving, and giving smiles to me and others. So, yeah, I think the atmosphere is changing for the better.”
Asked what he predicts the near future will bring for the region, Vern is characteristically upbeat.
“I think in the next three to six months, we will see business pick up, the economy begin to recover, and people’s confidence come back. As vaccination numbers continue to increase and cases drop, I’m hopeful that by the new year, we’ll be back to where we were before the pandemic changed life as we knew it.”
Peoples Bank offers a full suite of products and services for small and medium-sized businesses. Vern and his team at the Peoples Bank Edmonds Branch are available to help you learn about financial solutions that are right for your business.