Financial innovators look to widen impact with new name, Craft3

By: - Feb 20, 2012
Source: The Daily Astorian

Enterprise Cascadia has changed its name.

The financial institution that split from ShoreBank operations in 2010 is seeking to establish a new brand.

The name is Craft3.

John Berdes, president and chief executive officer, said the name was chosen after considerable brainstorming among staff.

He said a consultant helped focus leaders' thoughts about creating a new brand that highlights the way the institution does business, rather than what it does.

He said Craft3 is intended to highlight the way staff "craft" financial support for worthy projects. The "3" refers to what staff call their triple bottom line: the economy, the environment and social equity.

The operation has grown out of the original Chicago-based ShoreBank, which at one point was linked to the ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific Group. A merger with the Cascadia Revolving Fund in 2007 prompted a change to Enterprise Cascadia.

ShoreBank Pacific is now a separate entity called One Pacific Coast Bank. Its staff and Craft3 bankers share a building on the Ilwaco waterfront.

Craft3 is the largest of the community development financial institutions in the Northwest, and Berdes said it is the only one with the environment as part of its core mission. There are about 1,200 such institutions in the nation.

He acknowledged that the new name is unusual, but it reflects the company's approach to everything it does.

"Every time we have innovated we have been out there on our own," said Berdes. "We are out there alone with this name.

"We are used to raised eyebrows. We recognize it is edgy, but the biggest proponents of this name are the thirty-somethings on our team who are the next generation."

Jennifer Janda, marketing manager, said the company has some 47 employees plus several contractors based in Ilwaco, Wash., Astoria, Portland, Seattle and Port Angeles, Wash.

The intent of managers is to add to its westside succeses in Oregon and Washington by expanding in a five-year plan to become a regional institution. A consultant is helping summarize what staff did "well, badly or by accident," so the successes can be replicated in places like Pendleton, Bend and Walla Walla, Wash.

"We want to pause and learn from that history, take it ahead and figure out its component parts and replicate it," Berdes said.

Using techniques including tax credit programs and leverage, financiers have worked to support projects around the region. Successful projects in the greater Astoria area include the Mill Pond Village and the Clatsop Community College campus. Staff are helping to promote energy efficiency, working with the St. Helens-based Community Action Team on a weather assistance program.

"I think Craft3 has made a difference in the Lower Columbia and relies a lot on our people on the ground," Berdes said.

He is just back from Japan where he was lecturing in Tokyo and Osaka about community development financing. He has traveled in Europe, Africa, Asia and Central America promoting alternative financing concepts.

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