Umpqua Bank Does It Differently - TheStreet

For those unfamiliar with Umpqua Holdings Corp. (UMPQ) - Get Report, the parent company to Umpqua Bank, it's easy to lump the $9 billion-asset company in with the many community banks still struggling with the fallout of the housing sector. But that would be a mistake, as the Portland, Ore.-based company is using unconventional methods to attract visitors to its branches and build its deposit base.

"I had one significant advantage

compared to larger banks and that was the fact that I was nimble; I could make things happen quickly and focus on the way we deliver the products and services," Umpqua Bank CEO Ray Davis says. "That's where the store idea came up."

CEO Ray Davis is "not a banker by background," says Joe Morford, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "He brought some fresh ideas a little more entrepreneurial in some cases. It starts with him spreading the culture. He is committed to it and makes sure that everyone throughout the company has the same commitment."

Umpqua Bank CEO Ray Davis likens typical bank branch designs to that of the Department of Motor Vehicles and has purposefully steered away from that for Umpqua Bank. Technology plays a big role in how products and services are pitched to customers. This slide is an example of an Innovation Lab within an Umpqua branch location. The concept was launched in 2007 as a testing ground for new technologies, initiatives and delivery systems.

"It's certainly a well-run institution," says Brett Rabatin, Sterne Agee & Leach. "It does have a core funding base. They were aggressive with

problems in the residential construction portfolio. It has the capital. They're poised to do FDIC receivership deals."

"We do very little bank advertising," Umpqua Bank CEO Ray Davis says. "We allow

stores to create buzz in the community that they serve. That's where they're going to get their deposits. That's where they're going to grow their company, so why not let them do things in the local community that gets people fired up. Word of mouth is critical especially when you think about all the social networking that's going on right now."