15 Minutes With…Jeri Reno

Executive vice president and chief operating officer of $293 million-asset People’s Bank of Commerce in Medford, Ore.

IB: How does your bank differentiate itself from its competitors?
Reno: I think we differentiate ourselves by offering business loans; that’s really our niche. We tailor each loan to the business’s individual needs. We are responsive, and it’s all with that personalized approach. Our success has come from our customers having direct access to their professional bankers, and they appreciate their bankers as knowledgeable, experienced and trusted advisors. I think that’s what sets us apart, particularly because there are larger banks in our community.

IB: You are also a farmer. What is the biggest commonality between banking and farming?
Reno: I would say the education is the biggest commonality. Farming has been my husband’s career. When we had an opportunity to purchase a farm, we did so. What was important to him was that we really bring the farm experience to our community and educate students and local residents about the value of agriculture. So, I do education on both fronts: agricultural on the farm and financial literacy at the bank. 

IB: You take vacation time each year to host a Harvest Festival at your farm. What is the most rewarding part of that effort?
Reno: We offer pumpkin patches, the corn maze, hayrides, family activities; we have food and music. There are no tech things around; it’s really just good, old-fashioned fun. There’s a lot of beauty just looking at the vistas. People just come to enjoy it. As a farmer, it’s rewarding to see customers learn about the farm and enjoy the products that I produced. We feel good about providing families with that experience.

—Andrea Lahouze

Quick facts

  • On Pheasant Fields Farm’s 20 acres, Reno and her husband grow pumpkins, squash, field corn and flowers.
  • The farm’s Harvest Festival and field trips draw about 10,000 people every year.
  • Farmer Ed, one of two full-time employees, designs the five-acre corn maze each year the old-fashioned way, using graphing paper and a pencil.