Dividends increase as second quarter earnings shine at Columbia Bank

It was a good second quarter for Tacoma-based Columbia Bank, and shareholders will see the benefit.

Columbia Banking System on Thursday released its second-quarter results — with net income of $25.4 million — and announced that the board of directors has approved increased dividends for shareholders.

“The second quarter of the year has traditionally been a strong quarter for us and was again this year,” said Columbia President and CEO Melanie Dressel in a release.

“Our bankers continue their impressive loan production, our nonperforming assets to total assets remains well below our peers, and the results of our expense initiatives are reflected in the continued improvement in our efficiency ratio,” Dressel stated.

At its most recent meeting, the Columbia board approved a regular quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, a 5 percent increase from the first-quarter dividend and an 11 percent increase from the fourth-quarter dividend. The board also approved a special dividend of 19 cents per share.

The bank also announced Thursday that the board has approved a stock repurchase program authorizing the company to repurchase up to 2.9 million shares, or some 5 percent, of Columbia common stock.

Among the results announced Thursday:

▪  Net income was 25.4 million, or 44 cents per share.

▪  New loan production for the quarter totaled $337.8 million.

▪  Total assets at the end of the quarter were $9.35 billion, an increase of $317.7 million noted at the end of the first quarter.

▪  Net interest income was $21.9 million, an increase of $1.3 million over the first quarter.

▪  Noninterest expenses for the quarter were $63.8 million, a decrease of $1.3 million compared to the first quarter.

▪  Total deposits rose to $7.62 billion from the $7.44 billion recorded at the end of the first quarter.

▪  Nonperforming assets — or troubled loans — fell to 0.36 percent of total assets, the lowest figure recorded over the past eight years. It’s down from 0.55 percent at the end of the first quarter and 0.39 percent at the end of 2015. The greatest sector decrease came in the commercial business category, where troubled loans fell from $22.5 million at the end of the first quarter to $9.5 million at the end of June.

▪  The quarterly efficiency ratio — essentially the cost of earning one dollar — fell to 59.3 percent at the end of the second quarter from 62.63 percent at the close of the first quarter. An efficiency ratio of 50 percent would be considered exemplary.

▪  At the end of the quarter, commercial business loans comprised 41.2 percent of the bank’s total portfolio; real estate loans represented 46.4 percent, with the majority of those loans, 43.6 percent, given to commercial and multifamily-unit residential borrowers; and consumer loans represented only 5.3 percent.

▪  Columbia Bank stock closed Thursday at $30.31, up $1.81 percent on the day.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535