Kitsap Bank's Beginning
In August 1908, Kitsap County Bank opened its doors in a small building at the corner of Bay Street and Frederick Street in downtown Port Orchard, Washington. Six years later, while visiting the Puget Sound from his home in North Dakota, Frank Langer fell in love with the region and vowed to return when he had completed his schooling. Langer was the son of a pioneer farmer, banker and legislator. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Frank Langer returned to the Northwest to begin his banking career under the guidance of Kitsap Bank’s third president, Otto Strizik. Frank interrupted his banking work to serve our country during World War I. Returning home from the war, Mr. Langer eventually purchased controlling interest from Strizik in both Kitsap County Bank and the First National Bank of Poulsbo. At this time, Frank Langer married Hannah Norum, whose father was director of the Poulsbo bank. Mr. Langer served as President of Kitsap Bank for 22 years from 1930 until his death in 1952.
A History-Making Moment
After Frank’s death, Hannah Langer was faced with a choice that would set the course for the future of the company. Although many encouraged her to sell the bank, Hannah decided to continue running the company she had been building with her husband, and the Board of Directors elected her as the fifth president of Kitsap Bank, becoming the first female bank president west of the Mississippi River.
The Legacy Continues
Hannah Langer served as Kitsap Bank’s president for over 20 years, and then became the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors. In 1986, Frank and Hannah’s daughter, Helen Langer Smith was elected Chairwoman of the Board where she led the company for 25 years. Helen’s daughter, Cydly Langer Smith was elected Chairwoman of Kitsap Bank’s Board of Directors on March 31, 2011. Helen Langer Smith now serves as Vice Chairwoman, and is actively involved in the bank.
Kitsap Bank Today
Kitsap Bank now operates 18 locations in six Western Washington counties. With over $1.7 billion in assets, Kitsap Bank provides a full range of financial services to commercial clients and individual banking customers.
'We are a family'
"One might say we have banking in our blood,” says Helen Langer Smith, Kitsap Bank’s Vice Chairwoman of the Board, of her family’s four generations of bankers. “We strongly believe that continuity and long-term relationships are important to our customers. In many ways, we are a family, which extends to our employees and customers, alike. We have had the privilege of getting to know people over the years, and have shared in the joy of milestones reached, goals accomplished, and challenges faced.”