Jan. 29, 2020 — Debra “Dee” Osborne is ending the first month of 2020 with her retirement from Banner Bank. A familiar face at the bank through its transition from Siuslaw Bank to Banner, Osborne has managed the Florence and Mapleton branches for the past several years. After 33 years in the banking industry, it is time for her to take some time for family, friends and relaxation. That, and just enough volunteering to keep busy.
“I’ve been with the bank for 33 years, right here in this office,” Osborne said. “I’m really proud, we have a great staff and great management support. I’ll miss it when I retire.”
She began working at the Florence branch, 777 Highway 101, in May 1987. This location is the largest of Banner Bank’s 15 branches in the local division, and the Mapleton branch at 10756 Highway 126 is the smallest.
“I’m a third-generation Florence gal. After going through school here I left to find my destiny, which brought me back to Florence. After seeing many different places, I found a new love for our town,” she said.
Osborne showed that love through her dedication to the bank and its clientele, retaining her position as Siuslaw Bank merged with Banner in 2015, serving her clients with care and making it a habit to give back to the people of Lane County.
The community is invited to spend Osborne’s last day with her and the Florence branch staff on Friday, Jan. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be treats and refreshments throughout the day.
People will also get the chance to meet new manager Tess Yahyazadeh, who moved to Florence last year.
“Tess will continue the leadership of the Florence and Mapleton branches of Banner Bank,” Osborne said. “She will commit to Banner’s mission to be the bank of choice in the markets we serve.”
Banner Bank will also continue to offer the services that is has offered for 130 years since its founding in 1890. Part of its mission statement includes, “Working as a team, we will deliver superior products and services to our valued clients. We will emphasize strong client relationships and a high level of community involvement.”
“At Banner, we just work hard every day, try to do the best for our clients and enjoy being at work,” Osborne said. “One thing I’m really proud of working for Banner Bank is the generosity to the communities we serve.”
Looking back at time in banking, “I learned the value of hard work and the value of relationships,” she said. “Also, the value of thick skin.”
Building relationships is also how Osborne began working with more than a dozen local and regional nonprofit organizations. She has served on the boards of Florence Rotary Club, United Way of Lane County, Western Lane Community Foundation, Oregon Coast Military Museum and Florence Homebuilders Association, and been active on city and chamber committees and with Florence Area Coordinating Council, Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County, Soroptimist International of Florence, Peace Harbor Medical Center Foundation, American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Siuslaw Outreach Services, Florence Area Chamber of Commerce and more. She is also a founding member of the Rods ‘N Rhodies Inc.
“I will continue to stay on the board for PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Foundation, Western Lane Community Foundation, Rotary Foundation, the nonprofit Rods ‘N Rhodies Inc. and the Rhododendron Court Committee,” Osborne said. “The rest of the time I’ll enjoy family and life.”
Her dedication to others has been a hallmark of her time in Florence.
“I started volunteering after seeing a need to help (the Soroptimists) provide food baskets. From there it’s kind of just a blur,” she said.
The Florence Chamber recognized Osborne’s work in the community by naming her the 2018 Florence First Citizen.
In the nomination packet put together by the Florence Rotary Club, Rotarian Lisa Walter Sedlacek wrote, “When asked why she does so much for her community, Dee’s response is about family, … how she was raised to be part of our town, to give back and help make Florence a better place to live each and every day.”
Osborne accepted the award at last year’s Siuslaw Awards, saying, “Being involved has allowed me to meet so many who are willing to give. … If you go to Florence, wherever you go, there’s a volunteer. This town is run by volunteers.”
Banner Bank also has a strong tradition of volunteering. Nationwide, Banner’s employees volunteered more than 24,100 hours of their time to community service in 2018. Locally, Florence and Mapleton employees follow Osborne’s lead by volunteering with or serving on the boards of numerous community groups.
In addition, it was Osborne’s idea to convert part of Banner Bank’s large Florence branch into a conference room open for community use. This opened in November 2017, with a grand opening attended by Banner Bank officials from Idaho, Washington, Coos Bay and Eugene.
She said, “I’d like to extend thanks to all of you, the people who make Florence such a wonderful place to live and do business. We’re grateful to our clients for your loyalty … and we look forward to continuing to earn your business in years to come.”
Osborne’s leadership also steered Banner Bank to win the 2017 Community Caring Award and the 2014 Stu Johnston Business of the Year Award at past Florence Chamber Siuslaw Awards.
According to community member Cal Applebee, who has retired from past work with the chamber and Oregon Coast Military Museum, “Dee is always upmost concerned with ethics and the integrity of the organization, whether it be the business community, the non-profit community or the Florence community in general.”
His was one of three testimonials included in Rotary’s nomination for 2018 First Citizen.
Businessman Tom Bassett, co-owner of Florence Antiques & Coast Jewelers, wrote, “Everyone knows how much Dee adds to the fabric of this community, not only through her volunteerism and involvement in numerous activities, but also as one of the most respected officers in our financial community as well.”
The two men wrote about Osborne’s attendance and help at “almost every fundraising event” in town and her “commitment to the betterment of Greater Florence, this region, its people and its financial welfare.”
Walter Sedlacek added, “For over 35 years, Dee has been a leader, collaborator, supporter and part of Florence and the surrounding community. Her strong family ethic in blue collar trades in our coastal town helped her understand the importance of jobs, strong local economies and families in having a strong community.”
Osborne’s other honors have included the 2006 Lane County Homebuilders Association Hall of Fame Award for her positive impact on the local Home Builders chapter by increasing membership and providing positive leadership; the Paul Harris Award three times for her charitable contributions to the Rotary Foundation; and Banner Bank’s recognition of excellence in management three times for her skills in leadership, community involvement and caring attitude towards employees and clients.
“Dee is the perfect example to all of the young men and women in our community that they can and will succeed in life if they remain strong, hardworking, loyal, true to themselves and to others, persevere and never lose hope,” Bassett said. “I applaud her for who she is, what she has accomplished, what she has overcome, and her desire to see Florence continue to grow, be vital and stay connected to its traditions.”
To those who hope to continue Osborne’s legacy of serving the community, she said, “You can’t give everything. Sometimes you can give money and sometimes you can give time. It just depends on where you are in life. You can give all you want to the Soroptimist Food Baskets, but if there are not people there volunteering to put them together and hand them out, the event is not going to happen. Everybody is important.”