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Category: Banking


Make a $25 deposit, get a chance to win $5,000; Washington credit unions join in “Save to Win” program

Spend a few dollars on the lottery and chances are, the money goes away.

There is, however, a new game in Washington.

Make a $25 deposit, or more, at one of six state credit unions, and you will be entered into a drawing with up to $5,000 in monthly prizes and a $5,000 annual prize.

Washington thus joins Michigan, Nebraska and North Carolina in a program called “Save to Win.”

The six credit unions participating are OBee, in Tumwater; TwinStar, in Lacey; North Coast in Bellingham; Fibre Federal in Longview; Connection, in Silverdale; and Express, in Seattle.

“Save to Win

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Good news from the FDIC – construction permits are up while bad loans fall at state banks

Builders are building again and loan quality has improved at Washington banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported Monday.

The federal bank regulator said in its monthly report that statewide single-family home permits were up mightily in the fourth quarter, increasing 47.5 percent from the figure reported in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Multi-family building permits increased 53.6 percent, while the home-price index rose 0.6 percent.

Within 71 state banking institutions, total assets rose were $63.8 billion, up from $62.6 billion in the previous quarter and up from $63.5 billion the year before.

Asset quality improved at state banks, the

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Banks joining to fight hunger next week

Heritage Bank of Olympia, Columbia Bank of Tacoma and several other South Sound members of the Washington Bankers Association will join in an effort to fight hunger beginning next week.

The campaign – “Bankers Care: Lending a Hand in Our Community” – begins March 18 and continues through April 5. Food and cash donations will be accepted at 500 branches of participating banks throughout the region,

“This food drive will make a real difference for area food banks and the thousands of families they serve,” said Jim Pishue, president and CEO of the association, in a release. “Many of our

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Heritage Bank of Olympia acquires Puyallup’s Valley Bank

Olympia-based Heritage Financial, parent of Heritage Bank, has acquired Puyallup-based Valley Bank

The deal, announced Tuesday, will give the combined company $1.6 billion in assets and an increased presence in the South Sound.

The transaction has been approved by both boards of directors and now faces approval by Valley shareholders and bank regulators. The formalities should be complete by the third quarter.

Valley Bank, with a conservative reputation, currently operates eight full branches and one drive-up facility. It counts assets of approximately $242 million. Heritage operates 34 branches located primarily along the I-5 corridor, located from Bainbridge Island south

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Washington Saves Week set for next week; educational materials available

If you’re wondering what you or your organization can do to celebrate Washington Saves Week – Feb. 25 through March 2 – then the state Department of Financial Institutions has some ideas.

This will be the seventh annual iteration of the event, meant to promote the idea that pennies saved (in a savings account, in an IRA, as part of a 401(k) plan, in a piggy bank or in any other of dozens of ways) are pennies earned.

Gov. Jay Inslee recently proclaimed the week, and DFI has several programs to assist citizens and businesses in heeding the theme: “Set

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Washington state sees ‘boomerang foreclosures’, with rate in January doubling from the year before

Washington state bucked the national trend in foreclosure activity, new data show, with the number of homes in some state of foreclosure more than doubling in a year.

Some 4,246 properties were in some state of foreclosure in January, according to foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac. That’s a 110 percent increase since January 2012, making Washington No. 7 in the nation for rate of foreclosures. It’s also the opposite of the national trend, which showed a decrease of 28 percent in a year.

Washington is seeing “boomerang foreclosures,” RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist said Wednesday in an email.

“(T)he foreclosure

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Washington banks and credit unions rate low in national assessment of interest rates paid

As certain Southern states perennially score low on educational assessment ratings, so do Washington banks and credit unions rate in the bottom tier nationally concerning average interest rates paid on savings accounts and certificates of deposit.

According to the results of a survey released Monday by, Washington ranks 45th nationally for rates paid on 6-month CDs; 48th on 1-year CDs; 46th for 2-year CDs; and 31st for interest paid on savings accounts.

The rating service found that while the national average annual percentage yield for a 6-month CD is 0.31 percent, in Washington it averages 0.25 percent; for a

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Dividend up, bad loans down, income down, assets rise at Columbia in 4th quarter

Tacoma-based Columbia Banking System on Thursday reported fourth quarter income of $13.5 million, a decline from fourth quarter income of $14.8 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2011. Earnings per share for the quarter were 34 cents, compared to 37 cents the year before.

The decline, Columbia reported in a release, “was due to the enhanced benefits realized in the fourth quarter of 2011 from Columbia’s FDIC-assisted transactions.”

A decline in net interest margin, from 5.52 percent a year ago to 5.15 percent in the latest quarter, was “impacted significantly by the accounting for acquired loans.”

At the

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