Committed to serving our community.
Who We Are
We are a bank that prides ourselves in our community and the support we provide to local businesses and charitable organizations. Whether our support is through sponsorships, local business loans or specialized products for organizations, it is the relationships we build with our clients, employees and our community that brings the greatest sense of fulfillment. We have been, and will continue to be, fully committed to putting community first in everything we do.
We are relentlessly focused on the client experience and are vested in our clients’ success. That’s what makes us different. We create trust by becoming a supportive partner, listening to our clients’ visions, providing quick decisions, assessing our clients’ needs and ambitions, and recommending the appropriate products and services.
We are committed to local ownership and to the communities we serve. Our owners and decision makers live and work here, which means we are attuned to the unique dynamics and needs of the region. This allows us to tailor flexible financial solutions for our clients, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach that is common today. We are committed to supporting local businesses not unlike our own to ensure that our bank and the community we serve will grow and prosper for years to come. It’s not just business for us—it’s personal.
Where We Come From
As consolidations within the banking industry became more prevalent in the late 1990s, many people moved their business to smaller banks. This gave founder Rick Peenstra the motivation to start a capital campaign to open a locally owned bank. Together with a group of investors, a capital campaign called “Friends Banking on Friends” was started. By December of 1997, the capital required to start a bank was raised and the first Chairman of the Board, Ty Haberling, was appointed.
Since the day Community First Bank opened, we have been committed to making a positive difference in the community. Over twenty years later, our history is still being written. We continue to build trust with local businesses and community partners—that we are going to be there for them by providing financial expertise when needed and assisting them in reaching their financial goals—now and for generations to come. It is through relationship banking that we continue to play a significant role in local economic growth and prosperity of our community.
Recognizing that many of our business owners have financial needs as they look toward selling or transferring their businesses to the next generation and managing the wealth they’ve worked so hard to accumulate, it became apparent that we lacked the tools to help them navigate the later stages of their financial lives. In 2016 the bank joined forces with HFG Trust, who specialize in providing wealth management, trust, and business services, giving us the ability to provide financial services for all stages of life.
As Community First looks ahead and plans for the future, we are dedicated to delivering the same high-quality customer service on which we were founded. Clients and the community will continue to be at the center of our business as we strive to be… Your Financial Partner for Life!
Board of Directors
Lee began his official employment career the summer of his 10th year, picking crops in the fields weekdays and moonlighting as a McDonald’s crew person on the weekends, charged with keeping the backroom, parking lot and restrooms clean. Lee graduated in 1983 as a Deans Scholar in the School of Business and Economics and Magna Cum Laude from Central Washington University with Accounting and Finance degrees. Since graduation he and his team have opened 11 of the 16 McDonald’s Restaurants his Company operates today. Lee has also launched two startup businesses and is a Founding Director/Shareholder of Community First Bank. As a multi-generational local entrepreneur, Lee understands the importance of community, connection and collaboration. Lee has been an integral part of the Bank’s success and currently holds the position of Chairman of the Board. Since 1973 the Family business has been actively involved and dedicated in supporting many organizations in the local community.
Nicole Berg is a fourth–generation farmer who works alongside her dad and two brothers at their family farm in Paterson, Wash., where they grow dry-land and irrigated wheat; bluegrass seed, field corn, sweet corn, sweet peas, green beans and alfalfa.
As a Washington State University graduate with a degree in agricultural communication, Nicole worked for a number of years in the wine industry before heading back to the farm. She has been a member of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers for over 15 years and is very active in natural resource issues in Washington state. In 2014, Nicole was named Washington Association of Wheat Grower’s “Outstanding Member of the Year.” Berg also sits on the Board of the Conservation District and has received the NACD/NRCS Olin Sims Conservation Leadership Award.
As president and owner of Basin Disposal Inc, Darrick understands the importance of operating a strong, local, multigenerational business. Basin Disposal was founded in 1941 and spans 3 generations. With a philosophy to serve and partner with the communities they serve, Darrick’s company philosophy aligns with Community First Banks’ values. Darrick has served on the Board of Directors since 2012 and brings a unique and valuable perspective to the board.
As director and founder of HFG Trust, Ty has over three decades of experience in the finance industry. Having served as the bank’s first chairman of the board, and founder of HFG Trust, Ty is committed to the success and partnership of both organizations. A native of the Tri-Cities, Ty is actively involved in the community, supporting local organizations such as the Kennewick Kiwanis Club, Kennewick School Foundation, First United Methodist Church, and Junior Achievement.
After graduating college, Eric was not committed to any particular career path. Eric’s father had retired six months earlier when the community bank he had worked at for 33 years sold to a large commercial bank. Still having a number of contacts at that bank, Eric took a job there and began following a career in banking. After progressing through the ranks, Eric began to realize the difference between a large corporate enterprise and a local community bank. As he was passionate about building relationships and supporting small businesses, organizations and his community. Accordingly, he decided to make the move to Community First Bank as part of a succession plan to become its CEO. Over 25 years after starting his journey, Eric remains committed to the client and the community banking experience. He is involved in a variety of local organizations and is on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club, TriDec, Trios Trustee Board and the Washington Banker’s Association.
In 1981, with a decade of experience and expertise in sheet metal, mechanical design and business management, Bruce had the vision to start a local sheet metal business. 10 years later, Apollo Inc was founded and operations began. Over 37 years later his legacy continues and his company now consists of over 1800 employees and has expanded its markets across the US and internationally. As founder and entrepreneur of a local business, Bruce brings vision, expertise and business acumen to the Board of Directors. Bruce has served on the Board since the bank was founded in 1997.
Ryan has been with Apollo from the very start, alongside his father Bruce, the company has grown from a family owned business to a national and international organization. From working the shop floor in his youth, to over 15 years with the company, Ryan has been involved with every aspect of the Apollo organization. As part of the executive management team, he develops short and long term corporate strategies, process implementation, organizational efficiencies and dynamic leadership. Ryan is a Director/Shareholder of Community First Bank and holds a MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business.