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Dan Heine to step down at The Bank of Oswego

Bank's founder and only CEO worked tirelessly to make Lake Oswego a better place to live


Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Dan Heine stands in front of a map of Lake Oswego at his bank on State Street. His contributions to community life earned him many awards.When Lake Oswegans think of Dan Heine, they probably think about the delicious smell of fresh-baked cookies that wafts from the offices of The Bank of Oswego.

That's because Heine's cookies don't come straight out of a package, they come straight from the oven — and serve perhaps as a perfect example of the kind of commitment to personal service and individual attention that have marked Heine's 10 years at the helm of the bank he founded in 2004.

On Monday, Heine announced that he is retiring as president and CEO of The Bank of Oswego. Stephen G. Andrews, the former president and CEO of the Bank of Alameda in California, will take over on Sept. 2, pending regulatory approval.

“This is a happy day,” said Heine, 67. “I thought about retiring last year, but this year the timing is better. When you get to be my age, you get tired of working 60- to 70-hour weeks. I need to have more flexibility in my life. I need something different.”

Doing "something different" has been a hallmark of Heine's 45-year career. A native of Freeport, Ill., he started working in the mail room after graduating from college. By the age of 36, he had been named the youngest president in the 92-year history of the State Bank of Freeport.

After working in executive positions in Illinois and Washington, Heine brought his entrepreneurial spirit to Lake Oswego, where in December 2004 he established a full-service financial institution that never wavered from its relationship-based mission.

“When I looked into moving to Lake Oswego, I found that there were no community banks here,” Heine said. “Our strategic plan was to have a bank that would help the professionals here. The whole key was that we provided world-class service. That gave us a competitive advantage."

Despite tough economic times, Heine and his team built The Bank of Oswego from the ground up. “When I got here, there were no walls, no desks, no computers, no nothing," he said. "Everything was concrete.”

In the years that followed, Heine gained a reputation for more than just fresh-baked cookies. His touch may have been homey, but his ideas were original and he worked very, very hard. Perhaps most importantly, he had an uncanny knack for inspiring others to excel.

Today, The Bank of Oswego boasts two branches in Lake Oswego, a business banking center in Sherwood and total assets of more than $100 million. And all of that despite "huge changes" Heine said banks have had to face in the way they do business.

“There is tremendous pressure from all of the regulations, and banking is fiercely competitive,” he said. “A normal banker can’t do the things he used to do.”

So how did The Bank of Oswego thrive when so many other banks did not survive? The answer may have as much to do with Heine's activities outside the office as it does with the cookies he served inside the branches.

Simply put, Heine has left an indelible mark on Lake Oswego, embracing the community and striving tirelessly to make it a better place to live.

He has served on the boards of directors for a variety of civic organizations and nonprofits, including Lakewood Center for the Arts, Janus Youth, Lines for Life and the Oregon Historical Society. He has mentored students and professionals alike, sharing his financial expertise and strategic-planning capabilities.

Three years after moving to Lake Oswego, he was named the city's Community Leader of the Year by the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce and The Lake Oswego Review.

But he is most proud, he said, of his involvement with the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation and its Invest in Success project, which has done so much to maintain Lake Oswego’s reputation for educational excellence.

“Five years ago, the Lake Oswego School District was losing 35 teachers,” Heine said. “Mary Puskas (then the executive director of the foundation) and myself got the business community behind education. Our first year, we raised $2.2 million, and we’ve kept it up every year.”

It's an impressive legacy that Heine will leave behind as he heads into retirement.

"As I end my career in banking, I couldn't have asked for a better community to serve," he said. "I've had the privilege of working with committed directors and exceptional employees, and I am proud of the relationship-based bank we've built."

His admirers, no doubt worried about those fresh-baked cookies, weren't taking it quite so well this week. Said one emailer to Heine on Monday: "This is a sad day for Lake Oswego."