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COLUMBIA BANK ENCOURAGED BY OVERWHELMING SUPPORT; DOORS OPENED THIS MORNING TO STANDING ROOM ONLY CROWD

 TACOMA, Wash., Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The light rain on a mid-August day dampened few spirits as Tacoma's newest bank, Columbia Bank, opened its doors at 9 a.m. this morning to a packed hallway of about 100 anxious customers, the bank announced today.
 As of 1 p.m., a standing room only crowd was still shuffling through the door as Bill Philip, president and chief executive officer, greeted new customers as well as familiar faces from previous banking days.
 "Thank you for opening this bank," said Marion Knotts, as Philip posed for a photo with her. "I banked with Puget Sound Bank for almost 50 years. You don't know how much I've been looking forward to this day."
 A diverse crowd, young and old alike were all smiles as the sign proclaiming "the future home of Tacoma's newest bank" was cut in half by Philip. Turning from the sign to a large blue bow draping Columbia Bank's doors, Philip cut the ribbon saying, "This is a great day for Tacoma and a great day for banking. I am very proud of the team we've assembled at Columbia Bank."
 Rueben L. Thomas, a Puget Sound Bank customer for 17 years, said he was changing all his accounts to Columbia Bank for three reasons.
 "Columbia Bank's method of operation, how I'm treated as a customer and the leadership of this bank are all reasons I'm here today," said Thomas. "I know the team Bill's put together is the best."
 By mid-day, new customers were still lining up to claim the title of "Charter Member," each depositing $2,000 or more into a variety of accounts. The personalized, individually inscribed ceramic tiles will pave the floor of Columbia Bank's downtown lobby.
 "This is the most accounts I've ever opened in one day," said Julie Healy, senior vice president of operations. "We expected a good crowd, but this is phenomenal."
 "We're proud of Columbia Bank and have faith in the leadership," said Lynne Klug, who opened an account with Puget Sound Bank over 20 years ago. "My husband and I are stockholders, and it seems we're always picking the winners."
 Columbia Bank's downtown hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. With aggressive expansion plans, Columbia Bank is scheduled to open its first additional office in Fircrest in September and an office at 19th & Union by year's end. Columbia Bank is also in the process of exploring and securing properties in Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Puyallup and several other locations.
 -0- 8/17/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Philip, president and chief executive officer, of Columbia Bank, 206-305-1900; or Mark Dyce of Kobasic Fine Hadley, 206-623-7725, for Columbia Bank/


CO: Columbia Bank ST: Washington IN: FIN SU:

JH-SB -- SE016 -- 3729 08/17/93 16:54 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 17, 1993
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