Tacoma's Columbia Bank reports improved quarterly and 2013 earnings, higher dividend

Staff writerJanuary 23, 2014 

As further proof that the financial sector has survived and is prospering following the Great Recession, Tacoma-based Columbia Bank on Thursday released an earnings report for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2013.

Quarterly income came in at $20 million, with earnings of 38 cents per share, compared to $13.5 million in income and earnings of 34 cents per share in the same quarter of 2012.

For the year, Columbia reported net income of $60 million and earnings of $1.21 per share, compared to $46.1 million in income and earnings of $1.16 per share for 2012.

Adding to the positive numbers, the bank reported that borrowers have returned and loan officers have been busy.

“Loan originations have been strong throughout our entire footprint and continued to build in each successive quarter of 2013, achieving record production during the fourth quarter,” stated Columbia President and CEO Melanie Dressel.

Meanwhile, the Columbia board announced a quarterly cash dividend of 12 cents per share, to be paid on Feb. 19 to shareholders as of Feb. 6.

• At the end of 2013, Columbia’s total assets were $7.16 billion, an increase of $11.3 million from Sept. 30 and an increase of $2.26 billion from December, 2012. The latter figure is due primarily to Columbia’s acquisition of West Coast Bank, first announced in 2012.

• Total deposits at the end of 2013 were $5.96 billion, nearly unchanged from $5.95 billion reported at the end of the third quarter.

• At the end of the year, nonperforming assets  stood at $57.9 million, down from $59.6 million at the end of the third quarter. Sour real estate loans saw a precipitous drop, from $21.5 million in nonaccrual loans at the end of 2012 to $13.7 million at the end of 2013. Nonaccrual commercial business loans increased during the period from $9.2 million to $12.6 million. Total nonperforming assets rose from $48.5 million to $57.9 million over the year, an increase, Columbia said in a statement, “largely attributable to the nonperforming assets acquired from West Coast.”

• Over the fourth quarter, noninterest income rose to $10.6 million from $6.6 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase was “primarily due to a $6.1 million increase in service charges and other fees resulting from the increased customer base from the West Coast acquisition,” the bank said.

• The bank’s efficiency ratio – basically what percentage of a dollar it takes to earn a dollar – ended the year at 64.83 percent, down from 66.59 percent at the end of the third quarter and down from 68.26 percent at the end of 2012.  “Our improving efficiency ratio is indicative of the steady progress we continue to make in enhancing our operating leverage,” said Columbia CFO Clint Stein. “We are now able to clearly see the benefit of the additional scale provided by the West Coast merger.”



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