Melanie J. Dressel Named One of Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker Magazine

TACOMA, Wash., Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Melanie J. Dressel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Columbia Banking System, Inc. and Columbia Bank, has been selected for the fourth time as one of The 25 Most Powerful Women in Banking by American Banker magazine.  Now in its ninth year, the award honors the business acumen, professional achievements and creative intelligence of the financial industry's leading women.  The ranking pays tribute to the executives whose contributions to their institutions and their communities are most profound.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110412/SF81835)

For Ms. Dressel's inclusion as number 25 on the prestigious list, American Banker cited Columbia Banking System's performance, including nearly doubling the number of branches through five acquisitions and organic growth over an 18-month period.  In addition, the honor reflected her focus on superior customer service, commitment to local communities, her appointment in April to the board of directors of the American Bankers Association as well as activities that promote the economic well-being of the Pacific Northwest.

About Columbia

Headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, Columbia Banking System, Inc. is the holding Company of Columbia State Bank, a Washington state-chartered full-service commercial bank which was again awarded one of Seattle Business Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For 2011 and was recently named one of Puget Sound Business Journal's "Washington's Best Workplaces 2011".

Including the acquisitions of Bank of Whitman, Summit Bank and First Heritage Bank, Columbia Banking System has 102 banking offices, including 77 branches in Washington State and 25 branches in Oregon. Columbia Bank does business under the Bank of Astoria name in Astoria, Warrenton, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita and Tillamook in Oregon. More information about Columbia can be found on its website at www.columbiabank.com.

Contact:  Jo Anne Coy, Vice President,

Corporate Communications

253-305-1965; jcoy@columbiabank.com



SOURCE Columbia Banking System, Inc.



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http://www.columbiabank.com

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