Sound Community Bank nears purchase of three Columbia Bank branches

Leaders of Sound Community Bank expect the purchase of three Columbia Bank branches to go through by the work week’s end.

Sound Community Bank in Sequim will move from its Fifth Avenue location to the Sequim Columbia Bank in three weeks. Laurie Stewart

Sound Community Bank in Sequim will move from its Fifth Avenue location to the Sequim Columbia Bank in three weeks. Laurie Stewart

Leaders of Sound Community Bank expect the purchase of three Columbia Bank branches to go through by the work week’s end.

CEO/president Laurie Stewart of Sound Community Bank said the transaction tentatively is scheduled to close Aug. 22 on the branches in Sequim, 645 W. Washington St.; Port Angeles, 602 E. Front St.; and Port Ludlow, 9500 Oak Bay Road.

Brady Robb, marketing director for Sound Community Bank, said in Sequim they plan to operate both the Columbia Bank branch and Sound Community Bank branch at 541 N. Fifth Ave. for three weeks before shifting all operations to the Washington Street location on Friday, Sept. 12.

“We were already looking for a larger branch (in Sequim),” Stewart said.

The Fifth Avenue building is a rented building, she said.

In Port Angeles, Stewart anticipates moving employees and operations from the Columbia Bank branch to the 110 N. Alder St. location tentatively by Nov. 10.

She said there are people interested in purchasing the Columbia Bank building.

Since there isn’t a Sound Community Bank branch in Port Ludlow, the Columbia Bank will change its name and signage.

By the close of business on Friday, Aug. 22, Columbia employees and customers tentatively will join Sound Community Bank. Its consumer and business clients can begin online banking on Sunday, Aug. 24.

“The conversion comes behind the scenes,” Robb said. “(Customers) don’t need to come in and reestablish a loan or account.”

Other than for 24 customers with special financial needs, Stewart said the transition should be straightforward for customers as they’ll receive “switch kits” about the change with questions and answers such as when to stop using an old debit card and using a new one.

Customers will receive new checks, debit cards and pin numbers but their account numbers will remain the same, Stewart said.

With the completed purchase, Sound Community Bank will add nine new employees from Columbia Bank, some of which are part-time, Stewart said.

The manager in Port Angeles will replace the retiring Port Ludlow manager, Stewart said.

Sound Community Bank in Sequim will add three Columbia Bank employees.

Expansion into Jefferson County

Stewart said the purchase helps Sound Community Bank enter Jefferson County while increasing market share in this area and bridging the branches between Sequim/Port Angeles and the Seattle area.

Robb said they anticipate receiving about $24 million of deposits and $1 million of loans. Columbia Bank will receive a 2.35 percent total deposit premium on the transaction.

Melanie Dressel, president and CEO of Columbia Bank and Columbia Banking System, Inc., said in a previous statement that Columbia did not seek out the sale of its three branches but that it made sense.

“Being in Jefferson County makes a lot of sense for us,” Stewart said. “It’s a great small community that we’re excited about.”

When asked about future expansions, Stewart said she doesn’t anticipate anything like this for the remainder of the year.

She said when there are opportunities for consolidation, like Sound’s purchase of First Security in Port Angeles and in Tacoma, they’ll look at them but there’s nothing on the horizon.

“It’s a nice way to grow business without having to merge banks,” she said.

Sound Financial Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of Sound Community Bank, announced the purchases in May and hosts full-service branches in Seattle, Tacoma, Mountlake Terrace, Sequim and Port Angeles, a loan production office and an online EZ virtual branch. For more information, visit www.soundcb.com.

 

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