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Commencement, Thurston First banks complete merger

Thurston First Bank of Olympia and Commencement Bank of Tacoma completed a merger on Tuesday. The deal was first announced in July.
Thurston First Bank of Olympia and Commencement Bank of Tacoma completed a merger on Tuesday. The deal was first announced in July. Staff file, 2014

Two South Sound banks — Tacoma-based Commencement and Olympia-based Thurston First — completed a merger Tuesday that was first announced in July.

As part of the merger, Thurston First, best known for its recent and high-profile move to downtown Olympia, now becomes a division of Commencement Bank. The Thurston First name also could change, according to a news release announcing the completed deal.

“The Thurston First Bank name will remain for at least 12 months, at which time the name continuance will be evaluated by executive management and board of directors.”

Former Thurston First President and Chief Executive Jim Haley has joined the existing Commencement Bank executive management team. H.R. Russell is President and Chief Executive of Commencement.

“I am honored to serve as the president and CEO of the combined bank,” Russell said in a statement. “Thurston First and Commencement are both exemplary community banks. By joining together, we are better positioned to serve our current and future clients.”

Other merger details:

▪ The 11-member board has seven members from Commencement and four from Thurston First.

▪ A Thurston County-based advisory board will be created to serve the needs of the community.

▪ Thurston First shareholders will receive 0.9024 shares of Commencement common stock in exchange for each share of Thurston First common stock. All fractional shares will be exchanged for a cash payout.

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