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Columbia Banking System profits up steeply

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Oct. 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm with No Comments »
October 27, 2011 3:54 pm

Bank acquisitions and a growing loan portfolio drove Tacoma’s Columbia Banking System Inc.’s net income in the third quarter to more than seven times what the bank earned in the third quarter of 2010, the bank holding company announced today

Those earnings totaled $18.9 million for this year’s third quarter compared with $2.5 million for the same quarter in 2010. Net income per share increased to 48 cents compared with 6 cents a share in 2010’s third quarter.

Melanie Dressel, the banking company’s chief executive, said the company’s acquisition of The Bank of Whitman, Summit Bank and First Heritage Bank helped propel Columbia’s earnings upward.

But growth of Columbia’s own loan holdings also was responsible in part for the earnings increase.

“We are encouraged with the trend of the past two quarter of solid loan growth despite the continuing weakness in the economy,” Dressel said. “Our commercial business and real estate loans both increased approximately 24 percent since the end of last year, through organic growth as well as our acquisitions.”

With the August purchase of the Bank of Whitman and its nine branches in Eastern Washington, Columbia now counts 102 branches.

The bank’s net interest margin increased to 6.53 percent in the third quarter. That compares with 5.24 percent in the third quarter of 2010 and the 5.8 percent and 5.49 percent for the first and second quarter of this year.

The bank’s non-performing assets declined from $96.5 million on June 30 to $89.3 million at the end of the third quarter. At the end of 2010’s third quarter, non-performing assets were $114.7 million.

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