People’s Bank Co-Founder Ken Trautman retires 

Ken and Kathy Trautman enjoying country music at the Jackson County Fair – Photo by Jim Teece

I have written about Ken and the bank he co-founded (People’s Bank) many times over the years.

I met Ken while we both served on the Jackson County fair board. One of my companies (Project A) banked with People’s Bank because it is a community bank and the manager of the Ashland Branch was a wonderful community leader (Bob Rasmussen) at the time when we were looking for a new bank. But I only knew the manager of the branch and a couple of tellers. 

While I worked with Ken on the fair board, I had the opportunity to see his leadership skills, his tenacity and what kind of human he was at every gathering. I was growing more and more impressed after every meeting, which eventually helped lead me to seek my bank board position.

Ken is also no stranger to serving on boards. He has served on the Asante Health System board, Britt Festival Board and Oregon Banking Association board as well as the fair board to name a few, over the years.

He has also received many awards over the years. He even won the first ever Southern Oregon Business award for his leadership during the 2020 pandemic and fires.

I found this when I googled his name while thinking about what I could write about him.


Ken was inducted into the Oregon Bankers Association Hall of Fame in July 2017. This is the highest honor bestowed peer-to-peer on members of the Oregon banking community. Ken was recognized by the organization for his numerous contributions made to the Oregon banking industry and the communities he served.

OBA President and CEO Linda Navarro stated during Trautman’s induction, “In addition to being an accomplished banker and a generous and engaged member of OBA, Ken is a leader in his community. He is well known for his many contributions to organizations in Southern Oregon, along with his great wit and ability to lead and effect change.”

Trautman started his banking career at First Interstate Bank and later worked at Western Bank in Southern Oregon. In 1998, he co-founded People’s Bank of Commerce alongside the late Mike Sickels.

Trautman’s contributions to the Oregon Bankers Association are numerous. He is a past chairman of the OBA and will be assuming the role of chairman of the Independent Community Banks of Oregon in December. He currently serves on the board of the OBA Education Foundation and is a distinguished member of the Foundation’s “Founders Circle.”  Trautman previously served on the board of OBA’s wholly-owned subsidiary company, Synergy by Association.

In addition to being an accomplished banker and a generous and engaged member of the OBA, Trautman is a leader in his community. He is a past president of the Greater Medford Rotary and the Britt Music and Arts Festival Association, among other organizations.  He is also a current board member of Community Health Center, Asante Health Systems, Jackson County Fair, and he enjoys fundraising for Jackson County 4-H and Future Farms of America.

Trautman and his wife Kathy enjoy all that Oregon has to offer, including boating, river fishing, hunting and cheering on the Oregon Ducks. Trautman also likes to build furniture, restore old guns, read, coach and train his dogs.  When a student at Linfield College in McMinnville, Trautman played on the baseball team.


It really wasn’t until I joined the bank board that I realized that he co-founded the bank and had been a leader in the banking industry for his career. 

People’s Bank is a local, community bank that focuses on small, local businesses and over the last 25 years it has grown to 12 branches serving Medford, Ashland, Central Point, Klamath Falls, Lebanon, Salem, Albany and now Eugene with over two hundred employees and around $800 million in deposits. 

That growth and success is in large part because of the leadership, tenacity and courage of a kid who grew up in Eagle Point, played baseball in college, went on a hunting trip with family after he graduated and met a banker around the campfire that offered him a job. Ken went on became a wonderful community leader, entrepreneur and banking partner to so many businesses over his career. 

Ken will join the board of the bank as he retires. I look forward to serving on the board along his side once again. We did amazing things together on the fair board many years ago and I know we will continue to do so again. 

He is very good about making fun of me at board meetings.

I took Ken to lunch during his last week of employment. As I near retirement age myself (Don’t worry, I have at least 5 years), I wanted to know what it felt like to start a company, grow it and then hand it off and ride into the sunset. 

Kathy, his wife, was in Florence that day, getting their second home ready for sale – it sold in one day. They hope to close on a new second home in Arizona soon and he was looking forward to moving everything there in the middle of July.

I asked him what his favorite parts of his career were. 

After taking a long draw on his Arnold Palmer and thinking about it, he said it was the people. The people that worked with him, the people that banked with him and the people that he got to meet over the years. He shared several stories about different individuals that mentored him, gave him breaks, pushed him and inspired him.

I smiled through it all. 

Here he was, ending a 40 year career in banking and handing over the reigns to the bank he co-founded to the highly capable Julia Beatty, whom he mentored for the last several years into the role, quietly sharing with me that “People” are his favorite thing about his career in Banking. 

People’s Bank is very appropriately named. 

Thank you Ken for stepping up to the plate, taking swings at fastballs and curveballs, with your eyes wide open for so many years, hitting a grand-slam or three and inspiring so many to do the same and remembering to high-five Kathy as you crossed home plate…

Ok, I don’t know anything about baseball and probably screwed this analogy up, which will give Ken new material to make fun of me with at the next board meeting. I look forward to it.


  1. Julie on July 16, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    He’s a wonderful example of a gift to the community in so many ways. Simply, both he and Kathy care. Happy Retirement!

    • Jerry Evans on July 19, 2023 at 9:38 pm

      Ken is a great guy who created a great bank! Southern Oregon is a better place to live and work because of his efforts to enhance the quality of life for his fellow citizens!

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