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 TACOMA, Wash., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Banking System Inc. (NASDAQ: COLB) today announced plans to merge its wholly owned subsidiary companies Columbia Savings Bank and Columbia Bank (commercial bank) during the first quarter of 1994, with the commercial bank to be the remaining banking entity. Columbia previously announced plans to convert three Southwest Washington savings bank branches to commercial branches. The decision has now been made to merge the entire Savings Bank to include the branch office in Bellevue. The merged bank, as of Sept. 30, 1993, would have total assets of approximately $200 million, total deposits of $148 million and equity capital of $24 million.
 "The merger of the two entities shows further evidence of the company's commitment to streamlining the organization and controlling costs while positioning for growth," stated A.G. Espe, chairman and chief executive officer of Columbia Banking System. "The merger of the Savings Bank into the Commercial Bank will allow the bank to operate more efficiently under one management structure by better utilizing our experienced and capable personnel. Management expects to see considerable savings in operational costs while maintaining the highest level of customer service."
 With the conversion of the savings bank to a commercial bank, all branches will operate under one data processing system. The previous savings bank branches will continue to offer traditional savings bank products as well an enhanced range of accounts and services with more options and conveniences for its customers. New products to be offered by these branches will include senior citizen accounts, a Holiday Club account, several new business checking accounts, and cash management services. The branches will continue to offer real estate-related lending products along with a wider variety of commercial and consumer lending products.
 W.W. Philip, president and chief executive officer of the commercial bank, added that "by combining the capital of the two entities, the company will continue to be strongly capitalized to fund the growth that we are already experiencing and are planning for in the future." Philip further noted that "the proposed merger transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 1994."
 Upon completion of the merger, Columbia Bank will remain headquartered in Tacoma with branches in Pierce, King and Cowlitz counties. The branch office in Bellevue will be expanded to provide a full range of commercial bank services in addition to its existing products and services. The downtown Longview branches at 14th Ave. and at Commerce Plaza will be combined, and the other Southwest Washington branches will remain at 30th Ave. and in Woodland. Columbia Banking System will continue to operate as the parent holding company for Columbia Bank.
 -0- 11/19/93
 /CONTACT: A.G. Espe, chairman, 206-305-1970, or W.W. Philip, president, 206-305-1993, or Mike Pete, senior vice president and chief financial officer, 206-646-5372, all of Columbia Savings Bank/

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

RB-JH -- SE006 -- 4490 11/19/93 16:46 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 19, 1993

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