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TACOMA, WA-In an effort to support its future growth and expansion plans, the locally-based Columbia Banking System Inc. has received $22 million from a pooled trust preferred offering. The offering was managed by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and First Tennessee CapitalMarkets.

Columbia’s board of directors also has approved a stock repurchase program, which will be funded by up to $9 million of the proceeds from the pooled trust preferred transaction. Under the stock repurchase program, Columbia may systematically purchase up to 660,000 of its outstanding shares of Common Stock. Those shares represent approximately 5% of the 13.1 million common shares currently outstanding.

“We are pleased that the trust preferred transaction has provided additional capital that will support our continued growth while also allowing us to implement our new stock repurchase program,” J. James Gallagher, Columbia’s chief executive officer, said in announcing the news. “Together these two events should enable Columbia to restructure its balance sheet and to more effectively leverage its assets, and should have a favorable effect on earnings per share and return on shareholders equity.”

Columbia will use the remaining proceeds from the pooled trust preferred transaction to retire outstanding short-term debt and for working capital.

In February, Columbia assisted in the success of Tacoma’s first new class A office tower in 10 years by anchoring the building with Frank Russell Co., a Tacoma-based pension fund manager. The $40-million property at 1301 “A”: St. is a development of German billionaire Erivan Haub.

Columbia’s common stock trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol COLB. As of midday Monday, the stock was trading at $13.34, inching closer to the 52-week high of $14.94.

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