Kimbril Moore is the Bainbridge branch manager at First Fed, a local community bank. He is deeply invested in the community, serving on the board for both the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and the Kids Discovery Museum (KiDiMu). But like many of his colleagues at the local office of this community bank, Kimbril does not live on Bainbridge.

Here he talks about the role of a community bank and how the lack of affordable housing impacts its operations.

What do you like about your job?

I love my role in our community bank. It gives me the opportunity to connect directly with our customers, our community, our partners, and a talented team of bankers and financial advisors. I enjoy my day-to-day interactions with them all. My work is always challenging and always rewarding.

First Fed is a community bank. How does this community aspect show up in your work?

Community banking means we live, work, and play in the communities we serve. We are local and that impacts how we make decisions and what we offer. We are able to offer unique products, services, and solutions that fit the needs of our communities. We pride ourselves on supporting our communities not only with our financial services offerings, but also through volunteerism and community giving.

Our team volunteered over 2,400 hours with nonprofit organizations in 2020, and volunteerism is supported with three days of paid time off annually. Our team is in leadership roles and on the boards of many nonprofit and community organizations.

First Fed has been recognized for several years as Top Corporate Philanthropists in the mid-size company category by Puget Sound Business Journal. Additionally, we offer a donation matching program for employees for up to 3% of salary.

Affordable housing is one of the key pillars of the First Federal Community Foundation. In fact, the Foundation helped in the rehabilitation of the 10-unit Island Home property, providing a $60,000 grant to HRB.

How has the lack of affordable housing impacted the bank?  

First Fed was recently recognized as one of Washington’s Best Workplaces of 2021 by the Puget Sound Business Journal. While our compensation and benefits are competitive, housing prices on Bainbridge are still too high for team members to live here.

Our Bainbridge team members have an average commute of about 30 minutes, but this can be influenced by traffic related to construction, summer tourism, and the ferry schedule. Commute time is definitely a consideration for new team members joining our team.

Affordable housing is a problem on Bainbridge Island, as well as in many of the communities we serve. We have seen qualified homebuyers have multiple offers rejected because of the strong competition for homes in the area. Low inventory is definitely a challenge right now.

The bank has made commercial loans to builders. New construction could be very important for access to affordable housing, when inventory is at a record low.

What is the total number of employees and how many live on and off the island?

We have 250+ employees throughout Washington, across our branch footprint from Forks to Bellingham. For those of us who are local to the area, a few of our team members live on Bainbridge Island. However, those of us at the branch itself live in the surrounding area. Commuting to and from the island is not so unusual. In fact, we have a lot of customers who bank with us here on the island but work in downtown Seattle.

How have you personally experienced the lack of affordable housing on the island?

Ten years ago, my wife and I bought a beautiful home in Bremerton with a wonderful view of the Dyes Inlet. She is an interior designer and works from home 90% of the time. I commute to Bainbridge Island to work. I would consider relocating to Bainbridge Island to reduce my commute, but unfortunately a comparable home is not affordable for us at this time.

First Fed is an equal housing lender and member FDIC.