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Dave Ericksen, SVP Middle Market Director
Dave Ericksen, SVP Middle Market Director
Top PNW banker expands Umpqua Bank's expertise to support growth strategy for larger mid-size companies - 02/22/21

Umpqua Bank Hires Dave Ericksen to Build Upper Middle Market Banking Team

PORTLAND, Ore. (February 22, 2021)—Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: UMPQ), announced today the addition of Dave Ericksen to its Pacific Northwest (PNW) middle market banking leadership team as senior vice president and middle market director. Recognized as one of the PNW region’s leading corporate bankers, Ericksen strengthens Umpqua’s capacity to support the growth and evolution of the region’s large middle market companies.

According to Richard Cabrera, evp and head of Umpqua’s middle market banking division, Ericksen’s hire is part of Umpqua’s strategy to recruit top bankers and market leaders across its West Coast footprint to expand access to the sophisticated expertise needed by complex, high-growth enterprises, particularly during a period of continued economic uncertainty.

“Businesses have persevered through tremendous disruption and many have adapted in ways that position them for growth as the economy stabilizes. A trusted, capable banking partner has never been more critical to their continued success,” said Cabrera. “Dave brings uncommon expertise and skill to our team of bankers and his addition illustrates the high priority Umpqua has placed on helping our customers gain a competitive advantage through periods of both economic expansion and contraction.”

Before joining Umpqua, Ericksen contributed to the success of US Bank and Key Bank over his more than 25 years in banking. Most recently, he served as an enterprise banker at Key Bank, where he successfully helped drive that institution’s growth in a variety of key sectors, including health care, metals & recycling, and food and beverage, among others.

“Dave is a highly-regarded banker with long-standing connections to our region’s industries, economy, and companies,” said Jonathan Dale, evp and Pacific Northwest executive of middle market banking. “Throughout his career, Dave has established trusted relationships with middle market business owners, helping them finance growth, optimize working capital, and automate cashflow. His leadership experience and forward-thinking approach to understanding a business’ vision and objectives will complement Umpqua’s high-touch client experience.”

Ericksen earned a B.B.A. in Accounting & Finance from Pacific Lutheran University and an Executive Leadership Certification from University of Washington. He’s also a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School, and during his career has held licenses as a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP), an Oregon Life & Health Insurance professional, and a Series 6 & 63. Ericksen currently serves on the board of Portland Opera.

About Umpqua Bank
Umpqua Bank, headquartered in Roseburg, Ore., is a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, and has locations across Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. Umpqua Bank has been recognized for its innovative customer experience and banking strategy by national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Fast Company and CNBC. The company has been recognized for eight years in a row on FORTUNE magazine's list of the country's "100 Best Companies to Work For," and was recently named by The Portland Business Journal the Most Admired Financial Services Company in Oregon for the sixteenth consecutive year. In addition to its retail banking presence, Umpqua Bank owns Financial Pacific Leasing, Inc., a nationally recognized commercial finance company that provides equipment leases to small businesses. A subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corporation, Umpqua Investments, Inc., provides retail brokerage and investment advisory services in offices throughout Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada.

 

Kathryn Albright, Global Payments & Deposits Executive - Umpqua Bank
Kathryn Albright, Global Payments & Deposits Executive - Umpqua Bank
Tax Fraud May be an Even Bigger Threat this Year: File Early to Reduce Your Risk - 02/19/21

Some proactive steps could help you protect yourself from becoming the next tax ID fraud victim this year.

With the 2021 tax filing season officially underway as of February 12, it’s a great reminder to file your taxes as soon as possible before the April 15 deadline to avoid potentially becoming a victim of fraud.

 

Specifically, tax ID fraud, which remains an ever-present and widely concerning issue in the U.S. Late last year, the IRS announced it discovered $2.3 billion in such scams for fiscal year 2020 alone. And, with the rise of other types of fraud, such as COVID-19-related scams, 2021 could be an even more opportune time for criminals looking to capitalize on both business and consumer taxpayers.

 

Here’s Why You Should File Your Taxes Early

To help speed up refund payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS urges taxpayers to have all of their documents ready to file electronically and with direct deposit set up ahead of time—and for good reason:

 

Fraudsters can use basic personal information (often found online), your Social Security Number (SSN), and other stolen information (e.g., W-2 tax forms) to file your taxes and route your refunds to their own bank account. Often, victims of such scams find out only after their taxes have been filed either by themselves or a hired preparer, only to receive a letter of rejection from the IRS due to multiple filings. 

 

And, if there’s a tax return to be filed, it could be at risk of tax ID fraud.

 

“Criminals will go after any tax and personal details they can get their hands on to file illegitimate returns,” notes Kathryn Albright, Global Payments and Deposits Executive with Umpqua Bank, a Portland, Ore.-based institution with $29 billion in assets. “Both businesses and consumers should be on alert for tax ID fraud, because it could really hit anybody who has to file.”

 

Tips to Avoid Tax ID Fraud

Here are some ways you can help protect yourself from tax ID fraud for this and future tax seasons:

 

  • File your taxes as soon as you possibly can. This is the most prominent recommendation by the IRS, and it can be critical to securing your tax filings—and identity. If you beat fraudsters to filing your own taxes, they likely won’t control where your refund goes.

 

  • Keep your SSN private. There are countless scams designed to steal SSNs (and other sensitive personal information), which in turn can help fraudsters file illegal tax returns. Don’t provide such information to unfamiliar contacts—especially if you’re unexpectedly asked to do so by a stranger via email, text message, or even on social media (because the IRS doesn’t use those methods to contact individuals).

 

  • Research potential tax preparers before providing them with sensitive personal information. If you elect to have somebody else do your taxes, be sure they’re a qualified, trusted, and reputable preparer. Use the IRS’s searchable directory to help you find a qualified tax professional if necessary.

 

  • Use secure, trusted devices when filing your taxes online. When collecting your tax documents and then filing online, be sure you’re using as secure a computer as possible that’s running the most updated versions of security software, Internet browsers, and operating systems—and that’s connected to a trusted, safe Internet connection. (For example, if possible, consider using a personal laptop connected to your home Wi-Fi network rather than a shared computer with a public Internet connection.)

 

  • Consider placing a security freeze on your credit reports. Freezing your credit reports with the top three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) could help prevent further damages if a fraudster does steal your identity.

 

  • Request an Identity Theft (IP) PIN. Such codes are typically assigned to victims of identity theft to help them confirm their identity with the IRS and other federal agencies moving forward. However, eligible parties may request one for added security.

 

“It’s a good idea to get into the habit every tax season of doing everything you can to file early—and securely,” says Albright. “Start with a checklist, get your documents as soon as they become available, and get your preparation in order at the beginning of January so that you can file early. Then, keep an eye on things, like your credit reports and bank account details, throughout tax season to be sure there’s no unexpected or unusual activity that could be linked to fraud.”

 

What to Do if You Discover You’re a Victim of Tax ID Fraud

If you make the unfortunate discovery that somebody stole your identity to file your taxes, consider performing the following actions as soon as possible:

  • Contact the IRS and complete form 14039 (Identity Theft Affidavit) or call (800) 908-4490 for specialized assistance.
  • Follow the instructions that you receive in any letter from the IRS alerting you of a potential stolen tax identity theft situation. Then, report the situation to both the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov to initiate a recovery plan.

 

  • Secure your IP PIN and any other details you receive from the IRS and other federal agencies/law enforcement to prevent future identity theft.

 

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit reports—and consider freezing them altogether if you haven’t already done so.

 

Additional Resources

For more information about preventing tax fraud, visit these additional FTC and IRS resources.

Umpqua Bank Chief Privacy Officer Ousama Lakhdar-Ghazal
Umpqua Bank Chief Privacy Officer Ousama Lakhdar-Ghazal
Three Tips to Help Secure Your Online Banking Experience (Photo) - 02/08/21

In honor of Safer Internet Day (February 9), here are three ways you could make your online banking experiences more secure.

 

Safer Internet Day, a global event every February 9, serves as a good reminder that, when it comes to using the Internet, it’s on all of us to practice good “cyber-hygiene”—because doing so can help protect against online fraud that targets our money, identities, and other valuable sensitive information.

 

Unfortunately, fraud continues to be a major global challenge—and appears to be getting worse.

 

The numbers don’t lie

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers claimed to have lost more than $1.9 billion to fraud in 2019, a sharp increase from 2018’s reported figure of $293 million. While 2020’s stats aren’t yet available, they’re likely to be even higher due to pandemic-related scams; the FTC reported last April that, in the first three months of 2020 alone, Americans had lost over $13 million just to COVID-19-related scams.

 

It’s time to protect your money

“Given how statistics are showing that fraud losses continue to increase across the globe, it’s a good reminder as to just how susceptible we all are to online fraud,” says Ousama Lakhdar-Ghazal, Chief Privacy Officer at Umpqua Bank. “Ultimately, the criminals are after money—or sensitive information, like bank account or credit card details, on which they can capitalize. That’s why I think we should all be especially cautious and thoughtful about how we do our banking online—because that’s where fraudsters are lurking.”

 

Due to the pandemic, if you’re banking more on digital platforms rather than in person, be sure you’re taking the right steps to secure your activity and protect both your money and your valuable sensitive information.

 

Below are three tips to consider anytime you’re banking online:  

 

1. Strengthen your account’s login security.

Whether banking through an app or via a website, you should ensure your account’s login is as secure as possible. For example:

  • Passwords: Use only complex, hard-to-guess passwords that contain a healthy and lengthy mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols (as opposed to basic passwords, like “Password1”). Don’t share your passwords with anybody and update them regularly.
  • Username: Create a unique username to use only with your bank accounts—nowhere else. Doing so could make it that much harder for a cybercriminal to guess your login credentials if they learned what you use for other websites and apps.
  • Authentication: Add an extra step to your login experience by implementing multifactored (or “two-factored”) authentication. Doing so requires an added step, like entering a code sent to the account holder’s mobile phone via text message, in addition to a password in order to verify the person logging into an account is more likely to be its owner. This feature is likely available through your bank account’s online settings menu.
  • Logging off: As convenient as it is to store your account’s password on your computer or mobile device’s browser so that you can log in quickly, a criminal accessing such a device with saved credentials could be extremely dangerous. Hence, consider logging out of your online bank account—whether you’re using a website or a mobile app—whenever you don’t need to access it. 

 

2. Use a trusted Internet connection.

Whether you’re using a banking app or signing into your account from your bank’s website, do so using only a trusted, private Internet connection. That’s because connections like free public Wi-Fi available at spaces like cafes, airports, and hotels aren’t always secure. They may be susceptible to cyberattacks that give remotely connected criminals real-time access to users’ browsing activity—a potentially costly misstep if you’re viewing banking information in such a scenario.

 

When using a trusted Wi-Fi connection, consider also using a virtual private network (VPN) while online banking. Or, if using a phone or tablet, consider using its data network to access your bank’s mobile app to help create a potentially more secure connection.

 

3. Ensure you’re using the latest versions of both your operating system and Internet browser.

With Apple’s recent call for users to update their devices to the latest operating system, it’s a good reminder that, no matter what device you’re using to do your online banking, you should have the latest versions of both its operating system and Internet browser (as well as any anti-malware software your device uses).

 

That’s because researchers (and cybercriminals) continuously test operating systems and browsers for vulnerabilities that could in turn be used to exploit unsuspecting victims’ online activity (e.g., stealing login credentials, remotely accessing devices and/or accounts without detection).  Updates typically contain new fixes to help protect against newly discovered vulnerabilities, meaning they could help provide a more secure experience.

 

Regularly check for and download updates directly from the vendor as they become available.

 

Don’t let up

The above tips could help you protect your online banking activity, but it’s not a comprehensive list. Talk to your bank about other ways you could potentially further secure your online banking experience. But don’t let up and assume that a few small steps mean you never have to worry about the security of your online banking.

 

“Unfortunately, we see all too often criminals who are relentless in attacking unsuspecting victims’ online banking activities,” says Lakhdar-Ghazal. “The criminals don’t let up in their efforts to steal peoples’ money, so you should never let up trying to do all you can to try to protect it. Your diligence could really make a difference.”

Ashley Hayslip, EVP, Community & Business Banking Division, Umpqua Bank
Ashley Hayslip, EVP, Community & Business Banking Division, Umpqua Bank
Is It Time For A New Bank? - 02/04/21

Why a strong financial partner is critical for your business

By Ashley Hayslip, EVP, Community & Business Banking Division, Umpqua Bank

One of the important lessons businesses have learned through the disruption of 2020 is that whom they bank with matters—especially in times of crisis.

When the economy shut down and the government stepped in with relief through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), was your bank up to the task? Was it willing to work late and roll up its sleeves to help you get through it? When your business needed to change strategies, become more efficient, and improve cash flow to survive, did your bank have the expertise and solutions to deliver?

The data suggest that small and medium-but-growing enterprises, in particular, needed more from their bank precisely the time when it mattered the most. In fact, more than one in five report a desire to switch banks in the wake of the economic shutdown and PPP, according to Greenwich Associates, a consulting firm.

The inclination to switch often doesn’t materialize into action, however. Moving accounts, after all, takes some time and effort. The status quo is easier. But a move to a bank attuned to your company could play a key role in the growth of your business, as the economy continues its recovery, especially when your competition is also evaluating ways to become more efficient with their capital and operations.

As you look ahead, the right financial partner is critical. It’s worth your consideration. Here are three main themes we recommend businesses examine in their search for a more productive banking partnership, as there’s a wide variance in culture, approach, and expertise among financial institutions:

Access and Personal Attention. How easy is it to reach your banker? Do you have a relationship team or do you only know one person at the bank? Are they locally based? Some banks have or are moving to centralized small business banking operations, relegating customer service to call centers, often out of state. A responsive financial partner will be more likely to have an organizational structure that keeps its bankers close to the customer.

As a growing business, it’s important to work with a trusted banker who will return calls and meet with you (virtually now; in person post pandemic), who knows your community and will get to know your business. The banker should be responsive to your queries—during normal times, and unforeseen crises—and have authority to propose solutions and move quickly to implement them for your business.

Expertise and Solutions. Access and personal attention are important but only part of what your business needs from a banking partner. You should also prioritize finding a bank with expertise to challenge your assumptions about what you need and solutions that help you become more efficient and support your current growth needs.

Also, factor in your longer-term plan: does your current financial institution have the breadth of services to meet your needs as your business grows? Does it offer integrated payments, which help digitize money flows? To what extent does it handle international banking, including foreign exchange? How robust is its lending division? Does it have lending limits? How well does the bank understand your industry?

A responsive bank with deep expertise and robust capabilities will help steer your business toward the right opportunities and be able to grow with you.

Approach to Customer Service. How does the bank approach working with customers? Many financial institutions operate with out-of-the-box solutions and incentivize their bankers to push a product, rather than taking an advisory approach to understanding a business. It’s not uncommon to see businesses considering a switch that are actually over-financed—balance sheets laden with loans they maybe didn’t need.

The relationship should not be merely transactional. It should center around insight into your business, it’s true needs and how to most effectively help it grow and become more efficient. Ask a prospective bank whether it conducts a working capital assessment with new customers. This is a deep dive with respect to uncovering inefficiencies in the payments process, from collections to outflows, and digitizing and automating as much as possible.

As you mull over whether to make the leap, consider what you might be missing. For example, digitizing payments streams using services such as electronic transfers, virtual corporate cards, and remote deposit capture, can greatly improve cash flow and reduce borrowing needs. It’s not uncommon for our customers to reduce their credit line needs by 25% simply by looking holistically at their working capital. Reducing a $500,000 credit line to $375,000 would save almost $7,000 in annual interest expense, assuming a 5% borrowing cost.

This is what your bank should be doing for you—helping improve your financial picture and enabling you to prosper. Your bank should really understand your business, yet also have the sophistication to help you grow as much as needed in the years to come. A good financial partner will help you go places faster, so make sure to prioritize finding the right match in early 2021.       

Ashley Hayslip has more than 15 years of business and banking leadership experience. She leads Umpqua Bank’s new community & business banking division focused on supporting the needs of businesses with $1 to $15 million in revenue.