Share story

U.S. Bank, the third largest bank in Washington state by deposits, has promoted its retail-branch leader to market president.

Chris Heman, who has led U.S. Bank’s retail-branch network in the Seattle-Tacoma area since 2005, takes the reins March 1. He will succeed Ken Kirkpatrick, who is retiring after 41 years in banking, all of them at U.S. Bank and its predecessor, Peoples National Bank of Washington.

U.S. Bank has added seven Puget Sound area branches in the last 18 months, including one at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, part of its strategy of developing a presence in nontraditional places. Its share of deposits in Washington state also grew in 2012.

The bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the nation, has played a key role in the area’s commercial-construction boom.

“A lot of these buildings exist because we’re here, helping fund these businesses’ expansion,” Heman said.

A Missouri native, Heman received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southwest Missouri State University and an MBA from the University of Colorado. He is a board member of Independent Colleges of Washington and on the advisory board of Seattle Community Colleges, bank officials said.

Kirkpatrick, who has been market president since 2002, began his career as a teller trainee. He served for six years on the Seattle Branch board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and is also chairman emeritus of the board of the Pacific Coast Banking School, a nationally known graduate program for bankers.

The 59-year-old said he was proudest of promoting the professional growth of his employees and their involvement in the community. Kirkpatrick himself serves on the boards of two nonprofits, Junior Achievement and ArtsFund.

Kirkpatrick said he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in June 2011. Through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, he kept coming to the office two days a week. While the disease is now in remission, Kirkpatrick said he was eligible to retire with full benefits and decided the time was right.

He plans to continue to stay active in the community, helping others.

“One of the big things I love to do is mentor people,” he said.

The head of U.S. Bank’s parent company praised Kirkpatrick in a statement.

“Ken is an icon in the Seattle business community, as well as in the nonprofit sector that he and his wife, SaSa, so ardently support,” said Richard Davis, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or On Twitter @sbhatt