To our valued clients:
We recently announced that our Board of Directors approved a definitive agreement to merge Merchants Bank of Commerce into Columbia Bank. The merger is expected to close later this year, following regulatory, shareholder and other customary approvals. I want to take the opportunity to share with you how we came to this decision, who Columbia Bank is, and what you can look forward to in our new partnership.
Our choice to pursue a merger partner was based on mounting consolidations across the industry, margin pressure caused by a difficult rate environment and the rising cost of technology to operate the bank and provide competitive digital solutions for clients. We determined that a partnership with an organization that shares our values and aligns with our culture was the best approach to continue providing our clients with the exceptional banking experience they have come to expect while continuing to meet the needs of our employees, communities and shareholders. Columbia Bank exceeded our criteria and shared our desire for a similar partnership.
All of our existing locations will continue to operate under the Merchants Bank of Commerce name as a division of Columbia Bank following the merger. The leadership team at Columbia is eager to support the continuation of our brand in our markets and I have agreed to continue on with Columbia as the President of the Merchants Bank of Commerce Division. I look forward to supporting you with the teams of bankers you have come know and respect throughout this transition period and beyond.
Columbia Bank is a commercial community bank headquartered in Tacoma, Washington with more than 140 locations throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Since the day they opened their doors in 1993, they have been an employee-centric company that is fiercely committed to their clients and the communities they serve, offering the same solutions available at larger national banks through a client- focused, community bank delivery model that continues to put relationships first.
The commitment to clients, community and employees that lies at the heart of our brand is shared by Columbia and they have been recognized consistently for their approach. They are regularly ranked as the top bank in the Northwest on the Forbes annual list of America's Best Banks and have received a Best Workplaces recognition more than 15 times. The American Bankers Association has recognized the company's innovative community engagement work through their Community Commitment Awards and the bank has received several top awards for philanthropy.
Columbia’s commitment to continuing and expanding Merchants Bank of Commerce’s community engagement will begin immediately. Following the close of the merger, Columbia will contribute $500,000 to business clients throughout our footprint as part their Pass It On Project. The project pays local business clients to perform a service for someone in the community who has been impacted by the pandemic or the economic downturn it caused.
I believe this partnership will add tremendous value to our brand. While Columbia is a sizeable organization, our banks share similar business models. As a result, our bankers will not only be equipped with the same credit and deposit solutions you depend on to grow your business and manage your personal finances, they will have a number of additional tools at their disposal. Through our partnership, we will be able to offer a broader suite of premium solutions that include trust services, investment services and international banking services as well as enhanced treasury management solutions and contemporary digital products. Your family and your business will be able to grow comfortably with us while enjoying the same relationships with the bankers you know and trust.
At this time, there is nothing you need to do to continue to bank as you always have. We are committed to making this transition go as smoothly as possible for you. As we move forward with the merger, we will keep you updated on our progress. Additional information about Columbia Bank and what to expect as part of the merger process is enclosed with this letter.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your banker, visit your local branch or reach us at 1-800-421-2575. We value your business and look forward to serving you for many years to come.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Merchants Bank of Commerce
Columbia Bank is a Pacific Northwest community bank headquartered in Tacoma, Washington with a network of more than 140 branches throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. It is ranked among the top 20 banks on Forbes list of “America’s Best Banks” and has been named a “Best Place to Work” more than 15 times. As a regional community bank, Columbia is able to offer a comprehensive array of financial solutions and expertise to meet the needs of businesses and individuals while providing the kind of service you expect when doing business with a neighbor.
Columbia’s community banking philosophy places the highest priority on relationship-based banking while providing a positive work environment and striving to make meaningful contributions to each of the communities it serves. This shared commitment to clients, employees and communities is the cornerstone of our merger with Columbia.
You will continue to work with the same talented bankers who know you and your business so well. We are committed to ensuring a smooth experience throughout the merger and your Merchants bankers will be there to assist you throughout and beyond the transition.
There will be no interruption in access to your accounts or services due to the announcement of the merger. You may continue to use your debit and credit cards, checks, online banking and all other services. You will continue to access online banking through the Merchants Bank of Commerce website. Please continue to make loan payments as you always have.
We are committed to ensuring a smooth experience throughout the merger. Our teams will be available to answer your questions and to provide you with the exceptional service you’ve come to expect from us.
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