Officials at Tacoma-based Commencement Bank and Olympia-based Thurston First Bank on Friday announced a proposed merger between the two institutions.
The banks will continue to operate under their respective names for at least one year, and the deal will be completed following approval by shareholders and regulators.
The boards of directors at both banks have approved the transaction, which will see Thurston First shareholders receiving 0.9024 Commencement common shares for each share of Thurston First stock.
The combined company will have approximately $308 million in assets, $228 million in loans and $265 million in deposits, according to a joint news release Friday.
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When the deal is complete, Commencement shareholders are expected to own some 65 percent of the combined company, with Thurston First shareholders compiling the balance.
“Now the real work starts,” said Commencement President and CEO Hal Russell on Friday, speaking of the expected push to earn shareholder approval.
“We’ve been talking to a few banks over the years but haven’t found the one that culturally fit and geographically fit” until Thurston First appeared, he said.
Thurston First, he said, became “a very agreeable partner. They wanted to do this as much as we did.”
Russell will remain president and CEO at Commencement Bank, while Jim Haley, now president and CEO at Thurston First, will join the combined company’s executive team while retaining his current titles.
“We are enthusiastic about this partnership because of its ability to enhance our commitment to our local community in the coming years,” Haley said in a Friday release.
“As a larger and stronger financial institution with a significantly higher legal lending limit, we will be better able to compete in today’s challenging environment and serve our customers,” Haley stated.
The conversation concerning a merger began three months ago, Russell said.
That an agreement took such a short period of time, he said, “tells you how much we believe this is the right thing to do. It’s not like one had to sell or one needed to buy. We’re just two healthy banks and we thought it would be better together.”
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535