Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Friday, August 05, 2011


Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731 lyn.peters@dfi.wa.gov

Richard M. Riccobono, Director Division of Banks
PH 360.902.8704, banks@dfi.wa.gov

News release also available En Espaņol


Columbia State Bank Purchases Bank Of Whitman After Closure By Washington Department Of Financial Institutions

Eight of Whitman’s branches to remain open, all depositor accounts to be transferred to Columbia

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) closed Bank of Whitman, headquartered in Colfax, Wash. today, citing critically insufficient capital to allow the bank to continue operations. Immediately following the closure, DFI named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver of Bank of Whitman. The FDIC immediately entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Columbia State Bank headquartered in Tacoma, Wash. Columbia State Bank (doing business as Columbia Bank) will assume Bank of Whitman in an All Deposit, Modified Whole Bank purchase without a Shared-Loss Agreement.

“Large loan losses made it impossible for Bank of Whitman to continue,” DFI Division of Banks Director Richard M. Riccobono said. “Bank management was unable to raise sufficient capital to remain viable. It hurts to lose an institution like the Bank of Whitman because they extended services to our state’s smaller communities.”

Columbia Bank will retain eight of the existing 20 branches operated by the Bank of Whitman as part of the Agreement. The eight former Bank of Whitman (now Columbia Bank) branches remaining open are located in Clarkston, Colfax, Othello, Pullman, Ritzville, Spokane (two branches), and Walla Walla.

While all depositor accounts are being transferred to Columbia Bank, the physical facilities at the following 12 branches will not be maintained after the closing:

  • In Adams County
    1. Lind and
    2. Washtucna branches
  • In Benton County
    1. Kennewick branch
  • In Franklin County, the
    1. Pasco branch
  • In Garfield County
    1. Pomeroy branch
  • In Grant County, the
    1. Mattawa,
    2. Royal City and
    3. Warden branches;
  • In Spokane County
    1. Spokane branch on State Route 2
  • In Whitman County
    1. Endicott,
    2. LaCrosse and
    3. Rosalia branches

“We recognize that ‘brick and mortar’ bank branches in our smaller rural communities are not always profitable. Yet, access to banking services remains very important to these communities,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis said. “We encourage the financial sector to market and offer alternative distribution channels, such as automated teller machines, Internet banking, and electronic deposit and cash delivery systems to the businesses and residents of communities that cannot support a full service bank branch.”

As a result of the closures, residents and businesses previously served by these now closed branches who do not transact banking business electronically, through the mail, or over the Internet will need to travel to one of the remaining open eight branches now owned by Columbia Bank for in-person banking services. A list of the nearest branches, distance and travel times is available at www.dfi.wa.gov/banks/whitman-nearest-branches.htm. Bank of Whitman depositors may still write checks on their accounts and use their ATM cards and loan customers should continue to make their payments.

To facilitate the transfer and to provide information and support to the depositors in the branches not reopening, the FDIC’s Division of Resolutions and Receiverships (DRR) will take these additional steps:

Bank of Whitman customers seeking more information about the closure should visit www.dfi.wa.gov/banks/bankofwhitman.htm, www.fdic.gov or www.columbiabank.com.

As of June 30, 2011 Bank of Whitman had total assets of $549 million and total deposits of $516 million.

Columbia State Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbia Banking Systems, Inc., headquartered in Tacoma, WA. The bank has branches in Washington and Oregon. As of June 30, 2011 Columbia Bank has total assets of $5.43 billion and total deposits of $3.58 billion.

For more information about deposit insurance for Washington banks and credit unions, visit www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/deposits.htm. For details about FDIC coverage and requirements, visit www.fdic.gov or call toll-free 1.877.ASK.FDIC.

DFI also offers answers to frequently asked questions for bank business loan customers in turbulent times at www.dfi.wa.gov/banks/business-loan-faqs.htm.

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders and securities brokers and dealers. The department also works to improve financial education throughout Washington through its outreach programs and online clearinghouse www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, DFI uses the Web and social media to provide financial education information: http://www.twitter.com/FinEd4All, www.twitter.com/DFIConsumers, www.finlit.blogspot.com, www.youtube.com/user/WADFI, www.homeownership.wa.gov.

About Division of Banks
www.dfi.wa.gov/banks ▪ 360.902-8704 ▪ 877.RINGDFI (746.4334) x 28704
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions Division of Banks regulates Washington State-chartered commercial banks, stock savings banks, mutual savings banks, foreign banks, savings and loan associations and independent trust companies. We charter new banks, business development corporations, trust companies, foreign banks and savings and loan associations. Also, we authorize new branches and branch closures; and approve mergers and acquisitions Learn more about the Division of Banks.