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COLUMBIA BANKING SYSTEM ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT 1992 MILESTONES

 BELLEVUE, Wash., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Banking System Inc. (NASDAQ: COLB), the holding company for Columbia Bank, FSB, and its subsidiary mortgage banking company, Columbia First Service, announced some significant 1992 milestones.
 "Our successful $11-million public offering of convertible notes and common stock last June gave us the fuel to begin implementing an aggressive acquisitions plan to expand our presence in Washington state," said Arnold G. Espe, chairman of Columbia Banking System. "This year we were able to put the wheels in motion by acquiring the loan origination capabilities of Drake Mortgage of Bellevue and Seattle. We also are enthusiastic about our letter of intent to acquire First American State Bank. First American, which is headquartered in Centralia, Wash., and has an office in Bellevue, could be our first acquisition of a commercial bank."
 The local media kept a close eye on Columbia Bank's movements throughout the year. A Nov. 11 Seattle Times article listed the bank as having the largest third-quarter profit increase from the previous year than any other Pacific Northwest financial institution. A Sept. 8 Journal American article head read, "Optimism Prevails at Columbia." And a Sept. 21 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article stated, "Few are inclined to bet against Espe's track record of combining his own abilities as a banker with some incredibly fortunate strokes of timing.
 Columbia Bank continues to demonstrate strong growth, with an increased customer base and three successive increased quarterly earnings from the previous year. Earnings for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 1992, were $837,000, a 52-percent increase from $552,000 for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 1991. For the same time period deposits increased from $75 million to nearly $93 million.
 "Our continued growth reflects our focus and commitment to our business plan," said Espe. "We expect to be a $500-million to $1-billion financial institution within a few years."
 "A comprehensive management and customer service training program is one of our primary goals for 1993," said J. Mike Dunn, vice president, director of marketing. "By providing superb customer service and developing competitive product lines, we can continue to build our position as a strong community bank."
 Columbia First Service also had a profitable year with more than $50 million in closed mortgage loans since Jan. 1, 1992. "We anticipate 1993 will be an even better year given current market conditions," said John Whiteman, president and chief executive officer of Columbia First Service.
 Columbia Bank is a full-service federal savings bank with four offices in western Washington -- two in Longview, one in Woodland and one in Bellevue. Columbia First Service has three offices -- one in Bellevue, one in Seattle and one in Longview.
 -0- 12/15/92
 /CONTACT: Gayle Cloud of Gayle Cloud Public Relations, 206-453-5583; or Mike Dunn of Columbia Bank, 206-646-5373/
 (COLB)


CO: Columbia Banking System Inc. ST: Washington IN: FIN SU:

SM -- NYYFNS5 -- 7330 12/15/92 15:21 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 15, 1992
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