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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission File Number 000-20288
COLUMBIA BANKING SYSTEM, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Washington 91-1422237
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
1301 A Street
Tacoma, Washington 98402-2156
(Address of principal executive offices and zip code)
(253) 305-1900
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Common Stock, No Par ValueCOLBThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
(Title of each class)(Trading symbol)(Name of each exchange on which registered)
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  x    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes ☐  No  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x   No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes  x    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer Smaller reporting company 
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐ 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  No  x
The aggregate market value of Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant at June 30, 2020 was $2,017,703,718 based on the closing sale price of the Common Stock on that date.
The number of shares of registrant’s Common Stock outstanding at January 31, 2021 was 71,633,149.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Portions of the Registrant’s definitive 2021 Annual Meeting Proxy Statement.                     Part III



COLUMBIA BANKING SYSTEM, INC.
FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT
DECEMBER 31, 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
PART I
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
PART II
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
PART III
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
PART IV
Item 15.
Item 16.
i


Glossary of Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Terms

The acronyms, abbreviations, and terms listed below are used in various sections of the Form 10-K, including “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
401(k) Plan401(k) and Profit Sharing PlanFHLBFederal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines
ACHAutomated Clearing HouseFINRA/SIPCFinancial Industry Regulatory Authority/Securities Investor Protection Corporation
ACLAllowance for Credit LossesFRBFederal Reserve Bank
AFSAvailable-for-SaleGAAPGenerally Accepted Accounting Principles
ALLLAllowance for Loan and Lease LossesGDPGross Domestic Product
ASCAccounting Standards CodificationIDIInsured Depository Institutions
ASUAccounting Standards UpdateIntermountainIntermountain Community Bancorp
ATMAutomated Teller MachineInterstate ActRiegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994
B&OBusiness and OccupationIRAIndividual Retirement Account
Basel IIIA comprehensive capital framework and rules for U.S. banking organizations approved by the FRB and the FDIC in 2013IRSInternal Revenue Service
Basel CommitteeBasel Committee on Banking SupervisionKBWKeefe, Bruyette & Woods
BHCABank Holding Company Act of 1956LIBORLondon Interbank Offering Rate
BOLIBank Owned Life InsuranceLLCLimited Liability Company
BSABank Secrecy ActN/ANot applicable
Capital RulesRisk-based capital standards currently applicable to the Company and the BankNASDAQNational Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations
CARES ActCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ActN/MNot Meaningful
CDICore Deposit IntangibleNOLNet Operating Loss
CECLCurrent Expected Credit LossOCCOffice of the Comptroller of the Currency
CDARS®
Certificate of Deposit Account Registry ServiceOPPOOther Personal Property Owned
CEOChief Executive OfficerOREOOther Real Estate Owned
CET1Common Equity Tier 1Pacific ContinentalPacific Continental Corporation
CFOChief Financial OfficerPatriot ActIncludes 2006 amendments to the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 which was intended to combat terrorism.
CFPBConsumer Financial Protection BureauPCIPurchased Credit Impaired
COSOCommittee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway CommissionPPPPaycheck Protection Program
COVID-19Novel CoronavirusPPPLF
Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility
CRACommunity Reinvestment Act of 1977RSARestricted Stock Award
DIFDeposit Insurance FundRSURestricted Stock Unit
DCFDiscounted Cash FlowSBASmall Business Administration
Dodd-Frank ActDodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection ActSECSecurities and Exchange Commission
EPSEarnings Per ShareSERPSupplemental Executive Retirement Plan
ESP PlanEmployee Stock Purchase PlanSOFRSecured Overnight Financing Rate
FASBFinancial Accounting Standards BoardSOXSarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
FDIAFederal Deposit Insurance ActUnit PlansSupplemental compensation arrangements
FDICFederal Deposit Insurance CorporationTDRsTroubled Debt Restructurings
Federal ReserveBoard of Governors of the Federal Reserve SystemWest CoastWest Coast Bancorp

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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This annual report on Form 10-K may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions that are not historical facts, and statements identified by words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “should,” “projects,” “seeks,” “estimates” or the negative version of those words or other comparable words or phrases of a future or forward-looking nature, as well as the continuing effects of the COVID-19
pandemic on the Company’s business, operations, financial performance and prospects. Forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs and expectations of management and are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. In addition, forward-looking statements are subject to assumptions with respect to future business strategies and decisions that are subject to change. In addition to the factors set forth in the sections titled “Risk Factors,” “Business” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this Form 10-K, the following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from the anticipated results expressed or implied by forward-looking statements:

national and global economic conditions could be less favorable than expected or could have a more direct and pronounced effect on us than expected and adversely affect our ability to continue internal growth and maintain the quality of our earning assets;
the markets where we operate and make loans could face challenges;
the risks presented by the economy, which could adversely affect credit quality, collateral values, including real estate collateral, investment values, liquidity and loan originations and loan portfolio delinquency rates;
the efficiencies and enhanced financial and operating performance we expect to realize from investments in personnel, acquisitions and infrastructure may not be realized;
interest rate changes could significantly reduce net interest income and negatively affect asset yields and funding sources;
the effect of the discontinuation or replacement of LIBOR;
results of operations following strategic expansion, including the impact of acquired loans on our earnings, could differ from expectations;
changes in the scope and cost of FDIC insurance and other coverages;
changes in accounting policies or procedures as may be required by the FASB or other regulatory agencies could materially affect our financial statements and how we report those results, and expectations and preliminary analysis relating to how such changes will affect our financial results could prove incorrect;
changes in laws and regulations affecting our businesses, including changes in the enforcement and interpretation of such laws and regulations by applicable governmental and regulatory agencies;
increased competition among financial institutions and nontraditional providers of financial services;
continued consolidation in the Northwest financial services industry resulting in the creation of larger financial institutions that have greater resources could change the competitive landscape;
the goodwill we have recorded in connection with acquisitions could become impaired, which may have an adverse impact on our earnings and capital;
our ability to identify and address cyber-security risks, including security breaches, “denial of service attacks,” “hacking” and identity theft;
any material failure or interruption of our information and communications systems;
inability to keep pace with technological changes;
our ability to effectively manage credit risk, interest rate risk, market risk, operational risk, legal risk, liquidity risk and regulatory and compliance risk;
failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures;
the effect of geopolitical instability, including wars, conflicts and terrorist attacks;
our profitability measures could be adversely affected if we are unable to effectively manage our capital;
natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, fires and other unexpected events;
the effect of COVID-19 and other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future, which has created significant impacts and uncertainties in U.S. and global markets;
changes in governmental policy and regulation, including measures taken in response to economic, business, political and social conditions, including with regard to COVID-19; and
the effects of any damage to our reputation resulting from developments related to any of the items identified above.

You should take into account that forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report. Given the described uncertainties and risks, we cannot guarantee our future performance or results of operations and you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under federal securities laws.
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PART I
ITEM 1.    BUSINESS
General
Columbia Banking System, Inc. (referred to in this report as “we,” “our,” “the Company” and “Columbia”) is a registered bank holding company whose wholly owned banking subsidiary is Columbia State Bank (“Columbia Bank” or “the Bank”). Established in 1993 in Tacoma, Washington, we provide a full range of banking services to small and medium-sized businesses, professionals and individuals throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Company’s subsidiary Columbia Trust Company (“Columbia Trust”) is an Oregon trust company that provides agency, fiduciary and other related trust services with offices in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
The vast majority of Columbia Bank’s loans and deposits are within its service areas in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Columbia Bank is a Washington state-chartered commercial bank, the deposits of which are insured in whole or in part by the FDIC. Columbia Bank is subject to regulation by the FDIC, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions Division of Banks, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services Division of Financial Regulation, and the Idaho Department of Finance. Although Columbia Bank is not a member of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Reserve has certain supervisory authority over the Company, which can also affect Columbia Bank.
Business Overview
Having celebrated our 27th anniversary in 2020, our goal is to continue to be a leading Northwest regional community banking company while consistently increasing shareholder value. We continue to build on our reputation for exceptional customer satisfaction in order to be recognized as the bank of choice for individual and business customers in all markets we serve.
We have established a network of 145 branches in Washington, Oregon and Idaho as of December 31, 2020, from which we intend to grow market share. We operate 70 branches in 21 counties in the state of Washington, 60 branches in 16 counties in Oregon and 15 branches in 11 counties in Idaho.
Our branch system funds our lending activities and allows us to better serve both retail and business depositors. We believe this approach enables us to expand lending activities while attracting a stable deposit base and enhancing utilization of our full range of products and services. To support our strategy of market penetration and increased profitability, while continuing our personalized banking approach, we have invested in experienced banking and administrative personnel and have incurred related costs in the creation of our branch network. Our branch system and other delivery channels are continually evaluated as an important component of ongoing efforts to improve efficiencies without compromising customer service. We are taking major steps towards enhancing our digitally enabled bank that puts the client first and ensures they can bank when, how and where they choose.
Business Strategy
Our business strategy is to provide our customers with the financial sophistication and product depth of a regional banking company while retaining the appeal and service level of a community bank. We continually evaluate our existing business processes while focusing on maintaining asset quality and a diversified loan and deposit portfolio. We continue to build our strong deposit base, expanding total revenue and controlling expenses in an effort to gain operational efficiencies and increase our return on average tangible equity. As a result of our strong commitment to highly personalized, relationship-oriented customer service, our diverse products, our strategic branch locations and the long-standing community presence of our managers and staff, we believe we are well positioned to attract and retain new customers and to increase our market share of loans, deposits, investments and other financial services. We are dedicated to increasing market share in the communities we serve by continuing to leverage our existing branch network and considering business combinations that are consistent with our expansion strategy throughout the Northwest and beyond. We have grown our franchise over the past decade through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.
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Products & Services

We place the highest priority on customer service and assist our clients in making informed decisions when selecting from the products and services we offer. We continually review our product and service offerings to ensure that we provide our customers with the tools to meet their financial needs. A more complete listing of all the services and products available to our customers can be found on our website: www.columbiabank.com (information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this report). Some of the core products and services we offer include:
Personal BankingBusiness BankingWealth Management
•      Checking and Savings Accounts•      Checking and Savings Accounts
•      Financial Services
•      Debit and Credit Cards•      Debit and Credit Cards•      Private Banking
•      Digital Banking•      Business Loans•      Trust and Investment Services
•      Personal Loans•      Professional Banking
•      Home Loans
•      Treasury Management
•      Foreign Currency•      Merchant Card Services
•      International Banking
Personal Banking: We offer our personal banking customers an assortment of account products including noninterest and interest-bearing checking, savings, money market and certificate of deposit accounts. Overdraft protection is also available with direct links to the customer’s checking account. Personal banking customers may also choose from a variety of loan products including home mortgages for purchases and refinances, home equity loans and lines of credit, and other personal loans. Eligible personal banking customers with checking accounts are provided a Visa® Debit Card. Further, a variety of Visa® Credit Cards are available to eligible personal banking customers.
In addition, Columbia Connect, our personal digital banking platform, allows our personal banking customers to safely and securely conduct their banking business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across all of their devices. Columbia Connect has simple navigation and provides access to frequently used features such as depositing checks, paying bills, transferring funds, or locating the nearest Columbia Bank branch or ATM.
Business Banking: A variety of checking, savings, interest-bearing money market and certificate of deposit accounts are offered to business banking customers to satisfy all their banking needs. In addition to these core banking products, we provide a breadth of services to support the complete financial needs of small and middle market businesses including Business Debit and Credit Cards, Business Loans, Professional Banking, Treasury Management, Merchant Card Services, and International Banking.
Business Debit and Credit Cards
Our business banking customers are offered a selection of Visa® Cards including the Business Debit Card that works like a check wherever Visa® is accepted. We also partner with Elan Financial Services to offer a variety of Visa® Credit Cards that come with important business features including expense management tools, free employee cards and added security benefits. A specialty community card for nonprofit organizations and municipalities is also available.
Business Loans
We offer a variety of loan products tailored to meet the diverse needs of business banking customers. Business loan products include agricultural loans, asset-based loans, builder and other commercial real estate loans, and loans guaranteed by the SBA. In addition, we offer a suite of Business Edge loans designed for small businesses looking to expand, purchase equipment, or in need of working capital.
Professional Banking
Columbia Professional Bankers are uniquely qualified to help dentists, physicians and veterinarians acquire, build and grow their practice. We offer tailored banking solutions delivered by experienced bankers with the industry knowledge necessary to meet their business’s unique needs.
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Treasury Management
Columbia Bank’s diversified Treasury Management Programs are tailored to meet specific banking needs of each individual business. We combine technology with integrated operations and local expertise for safe, powerful, flexible solutions. Columbia’s clients, of all sizes, choose from a full range of transaction and Treasury Management tools to gain more control over their money. Treasury Management solutions include Business Online and Mobile Banking, Business Bill Pay, ACH collections and payments, Remote Deposit Capture, and a variety tools to protect against fraud and manage excess funds.
Merchant Card Services
We partner with Worldpay to provide businesses with a broad range of payment acceptance solutions to meet their customer’s needs. Our Merchant Card Services provides businesses with sophisticated technology, competitive pricing and best-in-class service for their merchant needs.
International Banking
Columbia’s International Banking Department offers a range of financial services to help our business customers explore global markets and conduct international trade smoothly and expediently. We are proud to provide small and mid-size businesses with the same caliber of expertise and personalized service that national banks usually limit to large businesses. Our experience with foreign currency exchange, letters of credit, foreign collections and trade finance services can help companies open the door to new markets and suppliers.
Wealth Management: We offer tailored solutions to individuals, families and professional businesses in the areas of financial services and private banking, as well as trust and investment services.
CB Financial Services
CB Financial Services(1) offers a comprehensive array of financial solutions that focuses on wealth management by delivering personalized service and experience through dedicated financial advisors serving various geographical areas.
Financial Services solutions include:
Financial Planning: Asset Allocation, Net Worth Analysis, Estate Planning & Preservation(2), Education Funding and Wealth Transfer.
Wealth Management: Professional Asset Management, Tailored Investment Strategies and Professional Money Managers.
Insurance Solutions: Long-Term Care and Life and Disability Insurance.
Individual Retirement Solutions: Retirement Planning, Retirement Income Strategies and Traditional and Roth IRAs.
Business Solutions: Business Retirement Plans, Key Person Insurance, Business Succession Planning and Deferred Compensation Plans.
Private Banking
Columbia Private Banking offers affluent clientele and their businesses complex financial solutions, such as deposit and treasury management services, credit services and wealth management strategies. Each private banker coordinates a relationship team of experienced financial professionals to meet the unique needs of each discerning customer.

__________
(1)Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC (doing insurance business in California as CFGIS Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither firm is affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered.
* Investment products are not FDIC insured * No bank guarantee * Not a deposit * Not insured by any federal government agency * May lose value.
(2)For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult a tax or legal advisor. Neither Cetera, nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.
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Trust and Investment Services: Through our Columbia Trust Company subsidiary, we offer a wide range of high quality fiduciary, investment and administrative trust services, coupled with local, personalized attention to the unique requirements of each trust. Services include Personal Trusts, Special Needs (Supplemental) Trusts, Estate Settlement Services, Investment Agency and Charitable Management Services. A more complete listing of all the services and products available to our customers can be found on Columbia Trust’s website: www.columbiatrustcompany.com (information contained on Columbia Trust’s website is not incorporated by reference into this report).
Competition
Our industry is highly competitive. Several other financial institutions with greater resources compete for banking business in our market areas. These competitors have the ability to make larger loans, finance extensive advertising and promotional campaigns, access international financial markets and allocate their investment assets to regions of highest yield and demand. In addition to competition from other banking institutions, we continue to compete with non-banking companies such as credit unions, brokerage houses, financial technology companies and other financial services companies. We compete for deposits, loans, and other financial services by offering our customers similar breadth of products as our larger competitors while delivering a more personalized service level.
Human Capital
At Columbia Bank, we strive to recruit high-performing talent by providing competitive compensation packages. We emphasize a culture of kindness and positivity, encouraging behaviors consistent with our Do RIGHT1 values and promoting strong personal relationships. We seek to create a workplace where employees care about the person next to them, where they root for the client down the street and where they do not just want the best for their community – they also participate in making it happen.
Effective January 1, 2020, we added a Chief Marketing & Experience Officer to the Company’s executive team whose focus is to assist and enhance the overall employee experience – from recruitment through retirement. We strongly believe that our success depends on employees understanding how their work contributes to our overall strategy. Open and direct communication is encouraged through a variety of channels including quarterly all-company CEO update calls, frequent email communications, our internal intranet and employee engagement surveys.
Our continued commitment to employees is demonstrated by Columbia Bank’s being honored as a Best Place to Work across our footprint in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Columbia Bank has been named one of Washington’s Best Places to Work by Puget Sound Business Journal for 13 of the last 14 years. In addition, Columbia has been named a Top Place to Work in Oregon and SW Washington by The Oregonian and one of the Best Places to Work in Idaho according to Populus Marketing Research.
Demographics: As of December 31, 2020 the company employed 2,187 full and part-time employees. None of these employees is represented by a collective bargaining agreement. During fiscal year 2020, we hired 423 employees. Our voluntary turnover rate was 18.3% in 2020, which compares to 19.6% in 2019.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Columbia Bank promotes diversity and equity and fosters an inclusive work environment that supports our workforce and the communities we serve. Our goal is to recruit the best qualified employees regardless of gender, ethnicity or other protected traits and it is our policy to comply with all laws applicable to discrimination in the workplace. We continue to enhance our diversity, equity and inclusion policies, which are guided by our executive leadership team. We have partnerships with Circa, Bankwork$ and Hiring our Heroes to engage and attract underserved talent populations.
Since 2019, we have engaged with third party consulting firms to expand our diversity, equity and inclusion practices throughout the bank, which has included training for our board and executive teams and multiple executive management listening sessions with employees who identify as persons of color as well as women. We are committed to further expansion and deepening of our diversity, equity and inclusion program and practices in 2021.

1 The Do RIGHT values consist of:
R: Build enduring RELATIONSHIPS with clients and each other
I: Drive INNOVATION that simplifies life and work
G: Seek continuous GROWTH in your personal and professional development
H: Commit with HEART to serve others
T: Extend TRUST in order to receive it
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Compensation and Benefits: We value our employees and pride ourselves on providing a professional work environment accompanied by comprehensive pay and benefit programs. We are committed to providing flexible and value-added benefits to our employees through a “Total Compensation Philosophy” which includes salary, bonus and equity award opportunities, profit sharing and 401k match funding. We provide a complete benefit suite including a variety of medical and dental plans, health savings plans, flexible spending accounts, life insurance and an employee stock purchase plan that allows all employees the opportunity to purchase company stock at a discount. We respect our employee’s personal time needs offering paid time-off for vacation, illness and life events. If desired, employees also have the option to purchase up to an extra week of vacation each year. In addition, to empower and encourage employees to make a personal difference in the communities where they live and work, Columbia Bank offers up to 40 hours a year of paid volunteer time.
Professional Development & Learning: We strongly encourage and support continuous learning and development, and we invest in all our employees by providing educational opportunities through internal and external sources. These include, but are not limited to, job-specific training, compliance updates, safety and security protocols, and information on new product and service offerings. Additionally, we have a robust leadership development and succession-planning program that includes leadership excellence programs through action learning, on-the-job-training, and focused individual development plans. We are an industry leader in offering an internal coaching program, provided by our internal International Coaching Federation Professional certified coaches. In response to the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, we leveraged virtual training to continue offering robust training both internally and through industry and professional associations.
Workplace Safety & Wellness: Columbia Bank has detailed policies and plans in place to respond to physical threats and related risks in the workplace. While COVID-19 amplified the focus on safety and wellness, Columbia Bank was able to leverage existing policies and resources to support both physical and mental health for all employees. This included an employee assistance program, a health advocate program and different channels for speaking with medical professionals such as 98point6, Doctor on Demand, Talkspace, Care Chat and enhanced access to E-visits, video visits and access to consulting nurses.
With regard to COVID-19, we had a phased, detailed and well-tested pandemic plan in place and began executing the first phase in the first quarter of 2020. We have followed that plan, escalating our response at predetermined trigger points. This included moving employees capable of working from home to remote work and implementing social distancing and cleaning protocols that adhere to Center for Disease Control recommendations in all of our facilities, as well as complying with individual state restrictions. We implemented a premium-pay structure for front-line, non-exempt employees for a defined period early on during the pandemic.
Available Information
We file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, periodic reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and other information with the United States SEC. The public may obtain copies of these reports and any amendments at the SEC’s website: www.sec.gov.
 Additionally, reports filed with the SEC can be obtained free of charge through our website at www.columbiabank.com. These reports are made available through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed electronically with the SEC. We also make available on that website our Code of Ethics for Senior Financial Officers, our Corporate Governance Policy, and the charters for certain committees of our Board of Directors. Any changes to or waiver of our Code of Ethics for Senior Financial Officers, will be posted on that website. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this report.
Supervision and Regulation
The following discussion provides an overview of certain elements of the extensive regulatory framework applicable to the Company and Columbia State Bank, which operates under the name Columbia Bank in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. This regulatory framework is primarily designed for the protection of depositors, customers, federal deposit insurance funds and the banking system as a whole, rather than specifically for the protection of shareholders or non-depository creditors. Due to the breadth and growth of this regulatory framework, our costs of compliance continue to increase in order to monitor and satisfy these requirements.
To the extent that this section describes statutory and regulatory provisions, it is qualified by reference to those provisions. These statutes and regulations, as well as related policies, are subject to change by Congress, state legislatures and federal and state regulators. Changes in statutes, regulations or regulatory policies applicable to us, including the interpretation or implementation thereof, cannot be predicted, but may have a material effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Our continued efforts to monitor and comply with new regulatory requirements and developments add to the complexity and cost of our business.
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Federal and State Bank Holding Company Regulation
General.  The Company is a bank holding company as defined in the BHCA, and is therefore subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Federal Reserve. In general, the BHCA limits the business of bank holding companies to owning or controlling banks and engaging in other activities closely related to banking. The Company must file reports with and provide the Federal Reserve such additional information as it may require. Under the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, a bank holding company may apply to the Federal Reserve to become a financial holding company, and thereby engage (directly or through a subsidiary) in certain expanded activities deemed financial in nature, such as securities and insurance underwriting. As of the date of this report, we have not elected to be treated as a financial holding company.
Holding Company Bank Ownership. The BHCA requires every bank holding company to obtain the prior approval of the Federal Reserve before (i) acquiring, directly or indirectly, ownership or control of any voting shares of another bank or bank holding company if, after such acquisition, it would own or control more than 5% of such shares; (ii) acquiring all or substantially all of the assets of another bank or bank holding company; or (iii) merging or consolidating with another bank holding company. In addition, under the Bank Merger Act of 1960, as amended, the prior approval of the FDIC is required for the Bank to merge with another bank or purchase all or substantially all of the assets or assume any of the deposits of another FDIC-insured depository institution. In reviewing applications seeking approval of merger and acquisition transactions, bank regulators consider, among other things, the competitive effect and public benefits of the transactions, the capital position and managerial resources of the combined organization, the risks to the stability of the U.S. banking or financial system, the applicant’s performance record under the CRA, the applicant’s compliance with other laws, including fair housing and consumer protection laws, and the effectiveness of all organizations involved in combating money laundering activities. In addition, failure to implement or maintain adequate compliance programs could cause bank regulators not to approve an acquisition where regulatory approval is required or to prohibit an acquisition even if approval is not required.
Holding Company Control of Nonbanks. With some exceptions, the BHCA also prohibits a bank holding company from acquiring or retaining direct or indirect ownership or control of more than 5% of the voting shares of any company which is not a bank or bank holding company, or from engaging directly or indirectly in activities other than those of banking, managing or controlling banks, or providing services for its subsidiaries. The principal exceptions to these prohibitions involve certain non-bank activities that, by statute or by Federal Reserve regulation or order, have been identified as activities so closely related to the business of banking as to be a proper incident thereto, such as Columbia Trust.
Tying Arrangements. We are prohibited from engaging in certain tie-in arrangements in connection with any extension of credit, sale or lease of property or furnishing of services. For example, with certain exceptions, neither the Company nor its subsidiaries may condition an extension of credit to a customer on either (i) a requirement that the customer obtain additional services provided by us; or (ii) an agreement by the customer to refrain from obtaining other services from a competitor.
Support of Subsidiary Banks. Under Federal Reserve policy and federal law, the Company is required to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to Columbia Bank, including at times when we may not be in a financial position to provide such resources, and it may not be in our, or our shareholders’, best interests to do so. This means that the Company is required to commit resources, as necessary, to support Columbia Bank. Any capital loans a bank holding company makes to its subsidiary banks are subordinate to deposits and to certain other indebtedness of those subsidiary banks.
State Law Restrictions. As a Washington corporation, the Company is subject to certain limitations and restrictions under applicable Washington corporate law. For example, state law restrictions in Washington include limitations and restrictions relating to indemnification of directors, distributions to shareholders, transactions involving directors, officers or interested shareholders, maintenance of books, records, and minutes, and observance of certain corporate formalities.
Federal and State Regulation of Columbia Bank
General. The deposits of Columbia Bank, a Washington chartered commercial bank with branches in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, are insured by the FDIC. As a result, Columbia Bank is subject to supervision and regulation by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions’ Division of Banks and the FDIC. These agencies have the authority to prohibit banks from engaging in what they believe constitute unsafe or unsound banking practices. Furthermore, under the FDIA, insurance of deposits may be terminated by the FDIC if the FDIC finds that the insured depository institution has engaged in unsafe and unsound practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations or has violated any applicable law, regulation, rule, order or condition imposed by the FDIC. With respect to branches of Columbia Bank in Oregon and Idaho, the Bank is also subject to certain laws and regulations governing its activities in those states.
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Consumer Protection. The Bank is subject to a variety of federal and state consumer protection laws and regulations that govern its relationship with consumers, including laws and regulations that impose certain disclosure requirements and regulate the manner in which we take deposits, make and collect loans, and provide other services. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may subject the Bank to various penalties, including but not limited to, enforcement actions, injunctions, fines, civil monetary penalties, criminal penalties, punitive damages, and the loss of certain contractual rights. As an insured depository institution with assets of $10 billion or more, the CFPB has primary enforcement and exclusive supervision authority for federal consumer financial laws over the Bank. This includes the right to obtain information about the Bank’s activities and compliance systems and procedures and to detect and assess risks to consumers and markets. The CFPB engages in several activities, including (i) investigating consumer complaints about credit cards and mortgages, (ii) launching supervisory programs, (iii) conducting research for and developing mandatory financial product disclosures, and (iv) engaging in consumer financial protection rulemaking. Columbia Bank has established a compliance management system designed to ensure consumer protection.

Community Reinvestment. The CRA requires that, in connection with examinations of financial institutions within their jurisdiction, the Federal Reserve, OCC or the FDIC evaluate the record of the financial institution in meeting the credit needs of its local communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with the safe and sound operation of the institution. A bank’s community reinvestment record is also considered by the applicable banking agencies in evaluating mergers, acquisitions and applications to open a branch or facility. The Bank’s failure to comply with the CRA could, among other things, result in the denial or delay of such transactions. The Bank received a rating of “outstanding” in its most recently completed CRA examination (for the period of April 1, 2017 through May 4, 2020). In December 2019, the OCC and FDIC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking intended to (i) clarify which activities qualify for CRA credit; (ii) update where activities count for CRA credit; (iii) create a more transparent and objective method for measuring CRA performance; and (iv) provide for more transparent, consistent, and timely CRA-related data collection, recordkeeping, and reporting. The Federal Reserve has not joined the proposed rulemaking. In May 2020, the OCC issued its final CRA rule, effective October 1, 2020. The FDIC has not finalized the revisions to its CRA rule. In September 2020, the Federal Reserve issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks public comment on ways to modernize the Federal Reserve’s CRA regulations. The effects on the Company of any potential change to the CRA rules will depend on the final form of any Federal Reserve rulemaking and cannot be predicted at this time. Management will continue to evaluate any changes to CRA regulations.
Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism. The BSA requires all financial institutions, including banks to, among other things, establish a risk-based system of internal controls reasonably designed to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It includes a variety of recordkeeping and reporting requirements (such as cash and suspicious activity reporting) as well as due diligence/know-your-customer documentation requirements.

The Patriot Act further augments and strengthens the requirements set forth in the BSA. The Patriot Act, in relevant part, (i) prohibits banks from providing correspondent accounts directly to foreign shell banks; (ii) imposes due diligence requirements on banks opening or holding accounts for foreign financial institutions or wealthy foreign individuals; (iii) requires financial institutions to establish an anti-money-laundering compliance program; and (iv) eliminates civil liability for persons who file suspicious activity reports. The Patriot Act also includes provisions providing the government with power to investigate terrorism, including expanded government access to bank account records. An institution that fails to meet these standards may be subject to regulatory sanctions, including limitations on growth. Columbia Bank has established compliance programs designed to comply with the BSA and the Patriot Act.
Transactions with Affiliates; Insider Credit Transactions. Transactions between the Bank and its subsidiaries, on the one hand, and the Company or any other subsidiary, on the other hand, are regulated under federal banking law. The Federal Reserve Act imposes quantitative and qualitative requirements and collateral requirements on covered transactions by the Bank with, or for the benefit of, its affiliates. In addition, subsidiary banks of a bank holding company are subject to restrictions on extensions of credit to the holding company or its subsidiaries, on investments in securities of the holding company or its subsidiaries and on the use of their securities as collateral for loans to any borrower. These regulations and restrictions may limit the Company’s ability to obtain funds from Columbia Bank for its cash needs, including funds for payment of dividends, interest and operational expenses.
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Banks are also subject to certain restrictions imposed by the Federal Reserve Act on extensions of credit to executive officers, directors, principal shareholders or any related interests of such persons. Extensions of credit (i) must be made on substantially the same terms, including interest rates and collateral, and follow credit underwriting procedures that are at least as stringent as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with persons not related to the lending bank; and (ii) must not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features. Banks are also subject to certain lending limits and restrictions on overdrafts to insiders. A violation of these restrictions may result in the assessment of substantial civil monetary penalties, regulatory enforcement actions, and other regulatory sanctions. The Columbia Bank board has established controls to ensure compliance with regulatory expectations around affiliated transactions.
Regulation of Management. Federal law (i) sets forth circumstances under which officers or directors of a bank may be removed by the institution’s federal supervisory agency; (ii) places constraints on lending by a bank to its executive officers, directors, principal shareholders, and their related interests; and (iii) generally prohibits management personnel of a bank from serving as directors or in other management positions of another financial institution whose assets exceed a specified amount or which has an office within a specified geographic area.
Safety and Soundness Standards. Certain non-capital safety and soundness standards are also imposed upon banks. These standards cover internal controls, information systems and internal audit systems, loan documentation, credit underwriting, interest rate exposure, asset growth, compensation, fees and benefits, such other operational and managerial standards as the agency determines to be appropriate, and standards for asset quality, earnings and stock valuation. An institution that fails to meet these standards may be subject to regulatory sanctions, including limitations on growth. Columbia Bank has established policies and risk management activities designed to ensure the safety and soundness of the Bank.
Interstate Banking and Branching
The Interstate Act together with the Dodd-Frank Act relaxed prior interstate branching restrictions under federal law by permitting, subject to regulatory approval, state and federally chartered commercial banks to establish branches in states where the laws permit banks chartered in such states to establish branches. The Interstate Act requires regulators to consult with community organizations before permitting an interstate institution to close a branch in a low-income area. Federal banking agency regulations prohibit banks from using their interstate branches primarily for deposit production and the federal banking agencies have implemented a loan-to-deposit ratio screen to ensure compliance with this prohibition.
Dividends
Columbia is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Bank and its other subsidiaries. As a bank holding company, Columbia is subject to certain restrictions on its ability to pay dividends under applicable banking laws and regulations. Federal bank regulators are authorized to determine under certain circumstances relating to the financial condition of a bank holding company or a bank that the payment of dividends would be an unsafe or unsound practice and to prohibit payment thereof. In particular, federal bank regulators have stated that paying dividends that deplete a banking organization’s capital base to an inadequate level would be an unsafe and unsound banking practice and that banking organizations should generally pay dividends only out of current operating earnings. In addition, in the current financial and economic environment, the Federal Reserve has indicated that bank holding companies should carefully review their dividend policy and has discouraged payment ratios that are at maximum allowable levels unless both asset quality and capital are very strong. Federal Reserve policy also provides that a bank holding company should inform the Federal Reserve reasonably in advance of declaring or paying a dividend that exceeds earnings for the period for which the dividend is being paid or that could result in a material adverse change to the bank holding company’s capital structure. A significant portion of our income comes from dividends from the Bank, which is also the primary source of our liquidity. In addition to the restrictions discussed above, the Bank is subject to limitations under Washington law regarding the level of dividends that it may pay to the Company. Washington law limits a bank’s ability to pay dividends that are greater than the bank’s retained earnings without approval of the applicable banking agency.
Regulatory Capital Requirements
The Federal Reserve monitors the capital adequacy of the Company on a consolidated basis, and the FDIC and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions’ Division of Banks monitor the capital adequacy of the Bank. The Capital Rules are based on the December 2010 final capital framework for strengthening international capital standards, known as Basel III, of the Basel Committee. As of December 31, 2020, we and the Bank met all capital adequacy requirements under the Capital Rules, as described below.
The Capital Rules, among other things (i) include a capital measure called CET1, (ii) specify that Tier 1 capital consists of CET1 and “Additional Tier 1 capital” instruments meeting specified requirements and (iii) define CET1 narrowly by requiring that most deductions/adjustments to regulatory capital measures be made to CET1 and not to the other components of capital.
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Under the Capital Rules, the minimum capital ratios are (i) 4.5% CET1 to risk-weighted assets, (ii) 6% Tier 1 capital (that is, CET1 plus Additional Tier 1 capital) to risk-weighted assets and (iii) 8% total capital (that is, Tier 1 capital plus Tier 2 capital) to risk-weighted assets.
The Capital Rules also require an institution to establish a capital conservation buffer of CET1 in an amount above the minimum risk-based capital requirements for “adequately capitalized” institutions equal to 2.5% of total risk-weighted assets. Banking institutions with a ratio of CET1 to risk-weighted assets above the minimum but below the capital conservation buffer will face constraints on dividends, equity repurchases and compensation based on the amount of the shortfall and the institution’s “eligible retained income” (that is, the greater of (i) net income for the preceding four quarters, net of distributions and associated tax effects not reflected in net income and (ii) average net income over the preceding four quarters).
The Capital Rules provide for a number of deductions from and adjustments to CET1. These include, for example, the requirement that mortgage servicing rights, certain deferred tax assets and significant investments in non-consolidated financial entities be deducted from CET1 to the extent that any one such category exceeds 10% of CET1 or all such categories in the aggregate exceed 15% of CET1. The Capital Rules also generally preclude certain hybrid securities, such as trust preferred securities, from being counted as Tier 1 capital for most bank holding companies. However, bank holding companies such as the Company who had less than $15 billion in assets as of December 31, 2009 (and who continue to have less than $15 billion in assets) are permitted to include trust preferred securities issued prior to May 19, 2010 as Additional Tier 1 capital under the Capital Rules.
In addition, the Company and the Bank are subject to the final rule adopted by the Federal Reserve, OCC and FDIC in July 2019 relating to simplifications of the capital rules applicable to non-advanced approaches banking organizations. These rules became effective for the Company on April 1, 2020 and provide for simplified capital requirements relating to the threshold deductions for mortgage servicing assets, deferred tax assets arising from temporary differences that a banking organization could not realize through net operating loss carry backs, and investments in the capital of unconsolidated financial institutions, as well as the inclusion of minority interests in regulatory capital.
In December 2017, the Basel Committee published standards that it described as the finalization of the Basel III post-crisis regulatory reforms. The standards are commonly referred to as “Basel IV.” Among other things, these standards revise the Basel Committee’s standardized approach for credit risk (including by recalibrating risk weights and introducing new capital requirements for certain “unconditionally cancellable commitments,” such as home equity lines of credit) and provides a new standardized approach for operational risk capital. Under the Basel framework, these standards will generally be effective on January 1, 2023, with an aggregate output floor phasing in through January 1, 2028. In July 2020, the Basel Committee finalized further revisions to the framework for credit valuation adjustment risk, which are intended to align that framework with the market risk framework. Under the current U.S. capital rules, operational risk capital requirements and a capital floor apply only to advanced approach institutions. The impact of Basel IV on the Company and the Bank will depend on the manner in which it is implemented by the federal bank regulators.
The Bank is also subject to the prompt corrective action regulations pursuant to Section 38 of the FDIA. See “Prompt Corrective Action Framework.”
Prompt Corrective Action Framework
The FDIA requires the federal bank regulators to take prompt corrective action in respect of depository institutions that fail to meet specified capital requirements. The FDIA establishes five capital categories (“well-capitalized,” “adequately capitalized,” “undercapitalized,” “significantly undercapitalized” and “critically undercapitalized”), and the federal bank regulators are required to take certain mandatory supervisory actions, and are authorized to take other discretionary actions, with respect to institutions that are undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized or critically undercapitalized. The severity of these mandatory and discretionary supervisory actions depends upon the capital category in which the institution is placed. Generally, subject to a narrow exception, the FDIA requires the regulator to appoint a receiver or conservator for an institution that is critically undercapitalized.
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Under the rules currently in effect, the following table presents the requirements for an insured depository institution to be classified as well-capitalized or adequately capitalized:
“Well-capitalized”“Adequately capitalized”
Total capital ratio of at least 10%,Total capital ratio of at least 8%,
Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 8%,Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 6%
CET1 ratio of at least 6.5%CET1 ratio of at least 4.5%, and
Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 5%, andTier 1 leverage ratio of at least 4%.
Not subject to any order or written directive requiring a specific capital level.
An institution may be downgraded to, or deemed to be in, a capital category that is lower than indicated by its capital ratios if it is determined to be in an unsafe or unsound condition or if it receives an unsatisfactory examination rating with respect to certain matters. A bank’s capital category is determined solely for the purpose of applying prompt corrective action regulations, and the capital category may not constitute an accurate representation of the bank’s overall financial condition or prospects for other purposes.
As of December 31, 2020, we and the Bank met the capital requirements to be well-capitalized with CET1 capital ratios of 12.88% and 13.08%, respectively, Tier 1 capital ratios of 12.88% and 13.08%, respectively, total capital ratios of 14.45% and 14.33%, respectively, and Tier 1 leverage ratios of 8.86% and 9.08%, respectively.
An institution that is categorized as undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized or critically undercapitalized is required to submit an acceptable capital restoration plan to its appropriate federal bank regulator. Under the FDIA, in order for the capital restoration plan to be accepted by the appropriate federal banking agency, a bank holding company must guarantee that a subsidiary depository institution will comply with its capital restoration plan, subject to certain limitations. The bank holding company must also provide appropriate assurances of performance. The obligation of a controlling bank holding company under the FDIA to fund a capital restoration plan is limited to the lesser of 5% of an undercapitalized subsidiary’s assets or the amount required to meet regulatory capital requirements. An undercapitalized institution is also generally prohibited from increasing its average total assets, making acquisitions and capital distributions, establishing any branches or engaging in any new line of business, except in accordance with an accepted capital restoration plan or with the approval of the FDIC. Institutions that are undercapitalized or significantly undercapitalized and either fail to submit an acceptable capital restoration plan or fail to implement an approved capital restoration plan may be subject to a number of requirements and restrictions, including orders to sell sufficient voting stock to become adequately capitalized, requirements to reduce total assets and cessation of receipt of deposits from correspondent banks. Critically undercapitalized depository institutions failing to submit or implement an acceptable capital restoration plan are subject to appointment of a receiver or conservator.
Brokered Deposits
The FDIA prohibits an insured depository institution from accepting brokered deposits or offering interest rates on any deposits significantly higher than the prevailing rate in the bank’s normal market area or nationally (depending upon where the deposits are solicited), unless it is well-capitalized or is adequately capitalized and receives a waiver from the FDIC. A depository institution that is adequately capitalized and accepts brokered deposits under a waiver from the FDIC may not pay an interest rate on any deposit in excess of 75 basis points over certain prevailing market rates.
On December 15, 2020, the FDIC issued a final rule intended to modernize its brokered deposit regulations in light of modern deposit-taking methods. The final rule establishes a new framework for certain provisions of the “deposit broker” definition and amends the FDIC’s interest rate methodology for calculating the national rate, the national rate cap, and the local market rate cap. The final rule will become effective on April 1, 2021 with an extended compliance date of January 1, 2022.
Regulatory Oversight and Examination
The Federal Reserve conducts periodic inspections of bank holding companies. The supervisory objectives of the inspection program are to ascertain whether the financial strength of the bank holding company is being maintained on an ongoing basis and to determine the effects or consequences of transactions between a holding company or its non-banking subsidiaries and its subsidiary banks.
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Banks are subject to periodic examinations by their primary regulators. Bank examinations have evolved from reliance on transaction testing in assessing a bank’s condition to a risk-focused approach. These examinations are extensive and cover the entire breadth of operations of the bank. Generally, FDIC safety and soundness examinations for a bank of our size are completed on an annual basis through the execution of a quarterly focal review process. The FDIC and state bank regulatory agencies complete these examinations on a combined schedule.
The CFPB has primary examination and enforcement authority over institutions with assets of $10 billion or more, including the Bank, with respect to various federal consumer protection laws, and we are subject to continued examination by the FDIC on certain consumer regulations. State authorities are also responsible for monitoring our compliance with all state consumer laws.
The frequency of consumer compliance and CRA examinations is linked to the size of the institution and its compliance and CRA ratings at its most recent examinations. However, the examination authority of the Federal Reserve and the FDIC allows them to examine supervised banks as frequently as deemed necessary based on the condition of the bank or as a result of certain triggering events.
Financial Privacy
Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, as amended, a financial institution may not disclose non-public personal information about a consumer to unaffiliated third-parties unless the institution satisfies various disclosure requirements and the consumer has not elected to opt out of the information sharing. The financial institution must provide its customers with a notice of its privacy policies and practices. The Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and other financial regulatory agencies issued regulations implementing notice requirements and restrictions on a financial institution's ability to disclose non-public personal information about consumers to unaffiliated third-parties.
In addition, privacy and data protection are areas of increasing state legislative focus, and several states have recently enacted consumer privacy laws that impose significant compliance obligations with respect to personal information. Similar laws may in the future be adopted by states where the Company does business. Furthermore, privacy and data protection areas are expected to receive further attention at the federal level. The potential effects of state or federal privacy and data protection laws on the Company’s business cannot be determined at this time, and will depend both on whether such laws are adopted by states in which the Company does business and/or at the federal level and the requirements imposed by any such laws.
Cybersecurity
The federal banking agencies have established certain expectations with respect to an institution's information security and cybersecurity programs, with an increasing focus on risk management, processes related to information technology and operational resiliency, and the use of third-parties in the provision of financial services. In October 2016, the federal banking agencies jointly issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on enhanced cybersecurity risk-management and resilience standards that would address five categories of cyber standards which include (i) cyber risk governance, (ii) cyber risk management, (iii) internal dependency management, (iv) external dependency management, and (v) incident response, cyber resilience, and situational awareness. As proposed, these enhanced standards would apply only to depository institutions and depository institution holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more; however, it is possible that if these enhanced standards are implemented, even if the $50 billion threshold is increased, the Federal Reserve will consider them in connection with the examination and supervision of banks below the $50 billion threshold. The federal banking agencies have not yet taken further action on these proposed standards.
State regulators have also been increasingly active in implementing privacy and cybersecurity standards and regulations. Recently, several states have adopted regulations requiring certain financial institutions to implement cybersecurity programs and providing detailed requirements with respect to these programs, including data encryption requirements. Many states have also recently implemented or modified their data breach notification and data privacy requirements. We expect this trend of state-level activity in those areas to continue, and are continually monitoring developments in the states in which the Company operates.
In February 2018, the SEC published interpretive guidance to assist public companies in preparing disclosures about cybersecurity risks and incidents. These SEC guidelines, and any other regulatory guidance, are in addition to notification and disclosure requirements under state and federal banking law and regulations.
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In December 2020, the U.S. federal bank regulatory agencies released a proposed rule regarding notification requirements for banking organizations related to significant computer security incidents. Under the proposal, a bank holding company, such as the Company, and an FDIC-supervised insured depository institution, such as the Bank, would be required to notify the Federal Reserve or FDIC, respectively, within 36 hours of incidents that could result in the banking organization’s inability to deliver services to a material portion of its customer base, jeopardize the viability of key operations of the banking organization, or impact the stability of the financial sector. The effects on the Company and the Bank will depend on the final form of the rule and how it is implemented.
Corporate Governance and Accounting
SOX addresses, among other things, corporate governance, auditing and accounting, enhanced and timely disclosure of corporate information, and penalties for non-compliance. Generally, SOX (i) requires CEOs and CFOs to certify the accuracy of periodic reports filed with the SEC; (ii) imposes specific and enhanced corporate disclosure requirements; (iii) accelerates the time frame for reporting of insider transactions and periodic disclosures by public companies; (iv) requires companies to adopt and disclose information about corporate governance practices, including whether or not they have adopted a code of ethics for senior financial officers and whether the audit committee includes at least one “audit committee financial expert;” and (v) requires the SEC, based on certain enumerated factors, to regularly and systematically review corporate filings.
Deposit Insurance
The Bank’s deposits are insured under the FDIA, up to the maximum applicable limits and are subject to deposit insurance assessments designed to tie what banks pay for deposit insurance to the risks they pose. Under the FDIC’s assessment system for determining payments to the DIF, large IDIs with more than $10 billion in assets are assessed under a complex “scorecard” methodology that seeks to capture both the probability that an individual large IDI will fail and the magnitude of the impact on the DIF if such a failure occurs. The assessment base of a large IDI is its total assets less tangible equity.
The Volcker Rule
The Dodd-Frank Act prohibits banks and their affiliates from engaging in proprietary trading and investing in and sponsoring hedge funds and private equity funds. The statutory provision is commonly called the “Volcker Rule.” The Volcker Rule does not significantly impact the operations of the Company and the Bank, as we do not have any significant engagement in the businesses prohibited by the Volcker Rule.
Interchange Fees
The Company is subject to rules governing interchange fees establishing standards for assessing whether the interchange fees that may be charged with respect to certain electronic debit transactions are “reasonable and proportional” to the costs incurred by issuers for processing such transactions.
Interchange fees, or “swipe” fees, are charges that merchants pay to us and other card-issuing banks for processing electronic payment transactions. Under the final rules, the maximum permissible interchange fee is equal to no more than 21 cents plus 5 basis points of the transaction value for many types of debit interchange transactions. The Federal Reserve also adopted a rule to allow a debit card issuer to recover one cent per transaction for fraud prevention purposes if the issuer complies with certain fraud-related requirements required by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve also has rules governing routing and exclusivity that require issuers to offer two unaffiliated networks for routing transactions on each debit or prepaid product.
Incentive Compensation
The Dodd-Frank Act requires the federal bank regulators and the SEC to establish joint regulations or guidelines prohibiting incentive-based payment arrangements at specified regulated entities, including us and the Bank, having at least $1 billion in total assets that encourage inappropriate risks by providing an executive officer, employee, director or principal stockholder with excessive compensation, fees, or benefits or that could lead to material financial loss to the entity. In addition, these regulators must establish regulations or guidelines requiring enhanced disclosure to regulators of incentive-based compensation arrangements.
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In June 2010, the Federal Reserve and FDIC issued comprehensive final guidance on incentive compensation policies intended to ensure that the incentive compensation policies of banking organizations do not undermine the safety and soundness of such organizations by encouraging excessive risk-taking. The guidance, which covers all employees that have the ability to materially affect the risk profile of an organization, either individually or as part of a group, is based upon the key principles that a banking organization’s incentive compensation arrangements should (i) provide incentives that appropriately balance risk and financial results in a manner that does not encourage employees to expose their organizations to imprudent risk, (ii) be compatible with effective internal controls and risk management and (iii) be supported by strong corporate governance, including active and effective oversight by the organization’s board of directors.
During the second quarter of 2016, the U.S. financial regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the SEC, proposed revised rules on incentive-based payment arrangements at specified regulated entities having at least $1 billion in total assets, but these proposed rules have not been finalized.
The Federal Reserve will review, as part of the regular, risk-focused examination process, the incentive compensation arrangements of banking organizations, such as us, that are not “large, complex banking organizations.” These reviews will be tailored to each organization based on the scope and complexity of the organization’s activities and the prevalence of incentive compensation arrangements. The findings of the supervisory initiatives will be included in reports of examination. Deficiencies will be incorporated into the organization’s supervisory ratings, which can affect the organization’s ability to make acquisitions and take other actions. Enforcement actions may be taken against a banking organization if its incentive compensation arrangements, or related risk management control or governance processes, pose a risk to the organization’s safety and soundness and the organization is not taking prompt and effective measures to correct the deficiencies.
Proposed Legislation
Proposed legislation relating to the banking industry is introduced in almost every legislative session. Certain of such legislation could dramatically affect the regulation of the banking industry. We cannot predict if any such legislation will be adopted or if it is adopted how it would affect the business of Columbia Bank or the Company. Recent history has demonstrated that new legislation or changes to existing laws or regulations usually results in a greater compliance burden and therefore generally increases the cost of doing business.
Effects of Government Monetary Policy
Our earnings and growth are affected not only by general economic conditions, but also by the fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government, particularly the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve implements national monetary policy for such purposes as curbing inflation and combating recession, but its open market operations in U.S. government securities, control of the discount rate applicable to borrowings from the Federal Reserve, and establishment of reserve requirements against certain deposits, influence the growth of bank loans, investments and deposits, and also affect interest rates charged on loans or paid on deposits. The nature and impact of future changes in monetary policies and their impact on us cannot be predicted with certainty.
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ITEM 1A.RISK FACTORS
The following is a discussion of what we currently believe are the most significant risks and uncertainties that may affect our business, financial condition and future results.
Risks Relating to our Operations

Our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations have been, and may in the future be, adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic and financial disruptions that have adversely affected, and may in the future adversely affect, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively affect our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations will depend on future developments, including the widespread availability, use and effectiveness of a vaccine, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.
While financial markets have rebounded from the significant declines that occurred earlier in the pandemic and global economic conditions showed signs of improvement during the second half of 2020, many of the circumstances that arose or became more pronounced after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic persisted at the end of the year, including (i) muted levels of business activity across many sectors of the economy, relatively weak consumer confidence and high unemployment; (ii) elevated levels of market volatility; (iii) the federal funds rate and yields on U.S. Treasury securities near zero; (iv) heightened credit risk with regard to industries that have been most severely impacted by the pandemic; and (v) higher cyber security, information security and operational risks as a result of work-from-home arrangements. Depending on the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic going forward, as well as the effects of the pandemic on consumer and corporate confidence, the conditions noted above could continue for an extended period and other adverse developments may occur or reoccur.
Governmental authorities worldwide have taken increased measures to stabilize the markets and support economic growth. The continued success of these measures is unknown and they may not be sufficient to address future market dislocations or avert severe and prolonged reductions in economic activity. We also face an increased risk of client disputes, litigation and governmental and regulatory scrutiny as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic and market conditions.
The length of the pandemic and the efficacy of the extraordinary measures that have been put in place to address it are unknown. Until the pandemic subsides, we may experience draws on lines of credit, reduced revenues in our wealth management businesses and increased client defaults, including defaults in unsecured loans. Even after the pandemic subsides, the U.S. economy, as well as most other major economies, may continue to experience a recession, and we anticipate our businesses would be materially and adversely affected by a prolonged recession in the U.S. and other major markets. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section or in the “Risk Factors” section of any subsequent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.
A failure in or breach of our operational or security systems, or those of our third party service providers, including as a result of cyber-attacks, could disrupt our business, result in unintentional disclosure or misuse of confidential or proprietary information, damage our reputation, increase our costs and cause losses.
As a financial institution, our operations rely heavily on the secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential and other information on our computer systems and networks. Any failure, interruption or breach in security or operational integrity of these systems could result in failures or disruptions in our online banking system, customer relationship management, general ledger, deposit and loan servicing and other systems. The security and integrity of our systems could be threatened by a variety of interruptions or information security breaches, including those caused by computer hacking, cyber- attacks, electronic fraudulent activity or attempted theft of financial assets. We may not be able to anticipate, detect, or implement effective preventative measures against all threats, particularly because the techniques used by cyber criminals change frequently, often are not recognized until launched and can be initiated from a variety of sources. We cannot assure you that we will be able to adequately address all such failures, interruptions or security breaches that may have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. While we have certain protective policies and procedures in place, the nature and sophistication of the threats continue to evolve. We may be required to expend significant additional resources in the future to modify and enhance our protective measures.
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Due to the complexity and interconnectedness of information technology systems, the process of enhancing our systems can itself create a risk of systems disruptions and security issues. Additionally, we face the risk of operational disruption, failure, termination or capacity constraints of any of the third parties that facilitate our business activities, including exchanges, clearing agents, clearing houses or other financial intermediaries. Such parties can also be the source of an attack on, or breach of, our operational systems. Any failures, interruptions or security breaches in our information systems could damage our reputation, result in a loss of customer business, result in a violation of privacy or other laws, or expose us to civil litigation, regulatory fines or losses not covered by insurance, all of which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
The confidential information of our customers (including user names and passwords) can also be jeopardized from the compromise of customers’ personal electronic devices or as a result of a data security breach at an unrelated company. Losses due to unauthorized account activity could harm our reputation and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Acquisitions and the integration of acquired businesses subject us to various risks and may not result in all of the benefits anticipated, future acquisitions may be dilutive to current shareholders and future acquisitions may be delayed, impeded or prohibited due to regulatory issues.
We have in the past sought, and expect in the future to continue to seek, to grow our business by acquiring other businesses. Our acquisitions may not have the anticipated positive results, including results relating to: correctly assessing the asset quality of the assets being acquired; the total cost of integration including management attention and resources; the time required to complete the integration successfully; the amount of longer-term cost savings; being able to profitably deploy funds acquired in an acquisition; or the overall performance of the combined entity.
In addition, unexpected contingent liabilities can arise from the businesses we acquire. Integration of an acquired business can be complex and costly, sometimes including combining relevant accounting and data processing systems, financial reporting and management and internal controls, as well as managing relevant relationships with employees, clients, suppliers and other business partners. Integration efforts could divert management attention and resources, which could adversely affect these systems, processes or controls and our operations or results.
Acquisitions may also result in business disruptions that cause us to lose customers or cause customers to remove their accounts from us and move their business to competing financial institutions. It is possible that the integration process related to acquisitions could result in the disruption of our ongoing businesses or inconsistencies in standards, controls, procedures and policies that could adversely affect our ability to maintain relationships with clients, customers, depositors and employees. The loss of key employees in connection with an acquisition could adversely affect our ability to successfully conduct our business.
We may engage in additional future acquisitions involving the issuance of additional common stock and/or cash. Any such acquisitions and related issuances of stock may have a dilutive effect on EPS, book value per share or the percentage ownership of current shareholders. The use of cash as consideration in any such acquisitions could impact our capital position and may require us to raise additional capital.
Furthermore, notwithstanding our prior acquisitions, we cannot provide any assurance as to the extent to which we can continue to grow through acquisitions as this will depend on the availability of prospective target opportunities at valuations we find attractive and other factors. Among other things, acquisitions by financial institutions are subject to approval by a variety of federal and state regulatory agencies. Regulatory approvals could be delayed, impeded, restrictively conditioned or denied due to existing or new regulatory issues we have, or may have, with regulatory agencies. In addition, the Northwest is experiencing intensified consolidation and we face significant competition from numerous other financial services institutions for attractive acquisition candidates, and many of these competitors have greater financial resources than we do.
Our assumptions regarding the fair value of assets acquired could be inaccurate, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and future prospects.
Management makes various assumptions and judgments about the collectability of acquired loans, including the creditworthiness of borrowers and the value of the real estate and other assets serving as collateral for the repayment of secured loans. If our assumptions are incorrect, significant earnings volatility can occur and credit loss provisions may be needed to respond to different economic conditions or adverse developments in the acquired loan portfolio. Any increase in future loan losses could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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If the goodwill we have recorded in connection with acquisitions becomes impaired, it could have a material adverse impact on our earnings and shareholders’ equity.
Accounting standards require that we account for acquisitions using the acquisition method of accounting. Under acquisition accounting, if the purchase price of an acquired company exceeds the fair value of its net assets, the excess is carried on the acquirer’s balance sheet as goodwill. In accordance with GAAP, our goodwill is evaluated for impairment on an annual basis or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that a potential impairment exists. Such evaluation may be based on a variety of factors, including the quoted price of our common stock, market prices of common stock of other banking organizations, common stock trading multiples, DCF, and data from comparable acquisitions. Future evaluations of goodwill may result in impairment and ensuing write-downs, which could have a material adverse impact on our earnings and shareholders’ equity.
We may not be able to attract or retain key employees.
Our success depends in significant part on the skills of our management team and our ability to retain, recruit and motivate key officers and employees. We expect our future success to be driven in large part by the relationships maintained with our clients by our executives and other key employees. Leadership changes will occur from time to time, and we cannot predict whether significant resignations or other departures will occur or whether we will be able to recruit additional qualified personnel. Competition for senior executives and skilled personnel in the financial services and banking industry is intense, which means the cost of hiring, incentivizing and retaining skilled personnel may continue to increase. We need to continue to attract and retain key personnel and to recruit qualified individuals to succeed existing key personnel to ensure the continued growth and successful operation of our business. The unexpected loss of any such employees, or the inability to recruit and retain qualified personnel in the future, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, the scope and content of U.S. banking regulators' regulations and policies on incentive compensation, as well as changes to these regulations and policies, could adversely affect our ability to hire, retain and motivate our key employees.
Our ability to sustain or improve upon existing performance is dependent upon our ability to respond to technological change, and we may have fewer resources than some of our competitors to continue to invest in technological improvements.
The financial services industry is undergoing rapid technological changes with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services. The effective use of technology increases efficiency and enables financial institutions to better serve customers and to reduce costs. Many of our competitors have substantially greater resources to invest in technological improvements than we do. Our future success will depend, in part, upon our ability to address the needs of our clients by using technology to provide products and services that will satisfy client demands for convenience, as well as to create additional efficiencies in our operations. We may not be able to effectively implement new technology-driven products and services or be successful in marketing these products and services to our customers. In addition, the implementation of technological changes and upgrades to maintain current systems and integrate new ones may also cause service interruptions, transaction processing errors and system conversion delays and may cause us to fail to comply with applicable laws. There can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully manage the risks associated with our increased dependency on technology.
Significant legal or regulatory actions could subject us to substantial uninsured liabilities and reputational harm and have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We are from time to time subject to claims and proceedings related to our operations. Claims and legal actions, including supervisory or enforcement actions by our regulators, or criminal proceedings by prosecutorial authorities, could involve large monetary claims, including civil money penalties or fines imposed by government authorities and significant defense costs. To mitigate the cost of some of these claims, we maintain insurance coverage in amounts and with deductibles that we believe are appropriate for our operations. However, our insurance coverage does not cover any civil money penalties or fines imposed by government authorities and may not cover all other claims that might be brought against us or continue to be available to us at a reasonable cost. As a result, we may be exposed to substantial uninsured liabilities, which could adversely affect our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition. Substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us could cause significant reputational harm to us and/or could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Because we primarily serve individuals and businesses located in the Northwest, any negative impact resulting from reputational harm, including any impact on our ability to attract and retain customers and employees, likely would be greater than if our business were more geographically diverse.
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We are subject to a variety of operational risks, including reputational risk, legal risk and compliance risk, and the risk of fraud or theft by employees or outsiders, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We are exposed to many types of operational risks, including reputational risk, legal and compliance risk, the risk of fraud or theft by employees or outsiders, and unauthorized transactions by employees or operational errors, including clerical or record-keeping errors or those resulting from faulty or disabled computer or telecommunications systems. These risks have increased in light of work-from-home arrangements implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our reputation and businesses may be adversely affected by negative publicity or information regarding our businesses and personnel, whether or not accurate or true, that may be posted on social media or other Internet forums or published by news organizations. The speed and pervasiveness with which information can be disseminated through these channels, in particular social media, may magnify risks relating to negative publicity.
If personal, non-public, confidential or proprietary information of customers in our possession were to be mishandled or misused, we could suffer significant regulatory consequences, reputational damage and financial loss. Such mishandling or misuse could include, for example, if such information were erroneously provided to parties who are not permitted to have the information, either by fault of our systems, employees, or counterparties, or where such information is intercepted or otherwise inappropriately taken by third parties.
Because the nature of the financial services business involves a high volume of transactions, certain errors may be repeated or compounded before they are discovered and successfully rectified. Our necessary dependence upon automated systems to record and process transactions and our large transaction volume may further increase the risk that technical flaws or employee tampering or manipulation of those systems will result in losses that are difficult to detect. We are also subject to disruptions of our operating systems arising from events that are wholly or partially beyond our control (for example, computer viruses or electrical or telecommunications outages, natural disasters, disease pandemics or other damage to property or physical assets) that can give rise to disruption of service to customers and to financial loss or liability. We are further exposed to the risk that our external vendors may be unable to fulfill their contractual obligations (or will be subject to the same risk of fraud or operational errors by their respective employees as we are) and to the risk that we (or our vendors’) business continuity and data security systems prove to be inadequate. The occurrence of any of these risks could result in a diminished ability of us to operate our business (for example, by requiring us to expend significant resources to correct the defect), as well as potential liability to clients, reputational damage and regulatory intervention, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures may adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Management regularly reviews and updates our internal control over financial reporting, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies and procedures. We maintain controls and procedures to mitigate risks such as processing system failures or errors and customer or employee fraud, and we maintain insurance coverage for certain of these risks. Any system of controls and procedures, however well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and provides only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met. Events could occur which are not prevented or detected by our internal controls, are not insured against, or are in excess of our insurance limits. Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures, or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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Interest Rate and Credit Risks
Economic conditions in the market areas we serve may adversely impact our earnings and could increase our credit risk associated with our loan portfolio, the value of our investment portfolio and the availability of deposits.
Substantially all of our loan and deposit customers are businesses and individuals in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and soft economies in these market areas could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. A deterioration in the market areas we serve could result in the following consequences, any of which would have an adverse impact, which could be material, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects:
loan delinquencies may increase;
problem assets and foreclosures may increase;
collateral for loans made may decline in value, in turn reducing customers’ borrowing power, reducing the value of assets and collateral associated with existing loans;
certain securities within our investment portfolio could require an allowance for credit losses, requiring a write-down through earnings to fair value, thereby reducing equity;
low- cost or noninterest-bearing deposits may decrease; and
demand for our loan and other products and services may decrease.
Concentrations within our loan portfolio could result in increased credit risk in a challenging economy.
While our loan portfolio is diversified across business sectors, it is concentrated in commercial real estate and commercial business loans. These types of loans generally are viewed as having more risk of default than residential real estate loans or certain other types of loans or investments. In fact, the FDIC has issued pronouncements alerting banks of its concern about heavy loan concentrations. Because our loan portfolio contains commercial real estate and commercial business loans with relatively large balances, the deterioration of one or a few of these loans may cause a significant increase in our nonperforming loans. An increase in nonperforming loans could result in a loss of earnings from these loans, an increase in the provision for loan losses, or an increase in loan charge-offs, any of which would have an adverse impact, which could be material, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
A large percentage of our loan portfolio is secured by real estate, in particular commercial real estate. Deterioration in the real estate market or other segments of our loan portfolio would lead to additional losses.
As of December 31, 2020, 56% of our total gross loans were secured by real estate. Any renewed downturn in the economies or real estate values in the markets we serve could have a material adverse effect on both borrowers’ ability to repay their loans and the value of the real property securing such loans. Our ability to recover on defaulted loans would then be diminished, and we would be more likely to suffer losses on defaulted loans, any or all of which would have an adverse impact, which could be material, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
Our allowance may not be adequate to cover future loan losses, which could adversely affect earnings.
We maintain an allowance for credit losses (for periods prior to January 1, 2020, referred to as the allowance for loan and lease losses) in an amount that we believe is adequate to provide for losses inherent in our loan portfolio. While we strive to carefully monitor credit quality and to identify loans that may become nonperforming, at any time there are loans in the portfolio that could result in losses, but that have not been identified as nonperforming or potential problem loans. We cannot be sure that we will be able to identify deteriorating loans before they become nonperforming assets, or that we will be able to limit losses on those loans that have been identified. Additionally, the process for determining the allowance requires different, subjective and complex judgments about the future impact from current economic conditions that might impair the ability of borrowers to repay their loans. As a result, future significant increases to the allowance may be necessary. Future increases to the allowance may be required based on changes in the composition of the loans comprising the portfolio, deteriorating values in underlying collateral (most of which consists of real estate) and changes in the financial condition of borrowers, such as may result from changes in economic conditions, or as a result of actual future events differing from assumptions used by management in determining the allowance.
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We have adopted ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326) Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments effective January 1, 2020. This standard requires financial institutions to determine periodic estimates of lifetime expected credit losses on financial instruments and other commitments to extend credit. This standard changes the prior incurred loss model for recognizing credit losses, and adoption of the new standard requires us to increase our allowance, and may greatly increase the types of data we need to collect and review to determine the appropriate level of the allowance.
Additionally, banking regulators, as an integral part of their supervisory function, periodically review our allowance. These regulatory agencies may require us to increase the allowance. Any increase in the allowance would have an adverse effect, which could be material, on our financial condition and results of operations.
Nonperforming assets take significant time to resolve and could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our nonperforming assets adversely affect our net income in various ways. We do not record interest income on nonaccrual loans, thereby adversely affecting our income. Moreover, nonaccrual loans increase our loan administration costs. Assets acquired by foreclosure or similar proceedings are recorded at fair value less estimated costs to sell. The valuation of these foreclosed assets is periodically updated and resulting losses, if any, are charged to earnings in the period in which they are identified. An increase in the level of nonperforming assets also increases our risk profile and may impact the capital levels our regulators believe is appropriate in light of such risks. We utilize various techniques such as loan sales, workouts, and restructurings to manage our problem assets. Decreases in the value of these problem assets, the underlying collateral, or in the borrowers’ performance or financial condition would have an adverse impact, which could be material, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, the resolution of nonperforming assets requires significant commitments of time from management and staff, which can be detrimental to performance of their other responsibilities. We may experience increases in nonperforming loans in the future.
Fluctuating interest rates could adversely affect our business.
Significant increases in market interest rates on loans, or the perception that an increase may occur, could adversely affect both our ability to originate new loans and our ability to grow. Conversely, decreases in interest rates could result in an acceleration of loan prepayments. An increase in market interest rates could also adversely affect the ability of our floating-rate borrowers to meet their higher payment obligations. If this occurred, it could cause an increase in nonperforming assets and charge offs, which could adversely affect our business.
Further, our profitability is dependent to a large extent upon net interest income, which is the difference (or “spread”) between the interest earned on loans, securities and other interest-earning assets and the interest paid on deposits, borrowings, and other interest-bearing liabilities. Because of the differences in maturities and repricing characteristics of our interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, changes in interest rates do not produce equivalent changes in interest income earned on interest-earning assets and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities. Accordingly, fluctuations in interest rates could adversely affect our interest rate spread, and, in turn, our profitability.
Interest rates on our outstanding financial instruments might be subject to change based on regulatory developments, which could adversely affect our revenue, expenses, and the value of those financial instruments.
LIBOR and certain other “benchmarks” are the subject of recent national, international, and other regulatory guidance and proposals for reform. These reforms may cause such benchmarks to perform differently than in the past or have other consequences which cannot be predicted. On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, publicly announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. On November 30, 2020, the benchmark administrator for the U.S. Dollar LIBOR announced a proposal to extend the publication of the most commonly used U.S. Dollar LIBOR settings until June 30, 2023. The U.S. federal banking agencies have issued guidance strongly encouraging banking organizations to cease using the U.S. Dollar LIBOR as a reference rate in “new” contracts as soon as practicable and in any event by December 31, 2021. It is unclear whether, at that time, LIBOR will continue to be viewed as an acceptable market benchmark, or what rate or rates may become acceptable alternatives to or replacements for LIBOR. If LIBOR ceases to be recognized as an acceptable benchmark or to exist or if an alternative rate or rates become accepted alternatives or replacements for LIBOR, interest rates on our loans, deposits, derivatives, and other financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates, as well as the revenue and expenses associated with those financial instruments, may be adversely affected. Further, any uncertainty regarding the continued use and reliability of LIBOR as a benchmark interest rate could adversely affect the value of our loans, deposits, derivatives, and other financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates.
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Regulators, industry groups and certain committees (e.g., the Alternative Reference Rates Committee) have, among other things, published recommended fallback language for LIBOR-linked financial instruments, identified recommended alternatives for certain LIBOR rates (e.g., the SOFR as the recommended alternative to U.S. Dollar LIBOR), and proposed implementations of the recommended alternatives in floating rate instruments. At this time, it is not possible to predict whether these recommendations and proposals will be broadly accepted, whether they will continue to evolve, and what the effect of their implementation may be on the markets for floating-rate financial instruments.
Our business depends on our ability to successfully manage credit risk.
The operation of our business requires us to manage credit risk. As a lender, we are exposed to the risk that our borrowers will be unable to repay their loans according to their terms, and that the collateral securing repayment of their loans, if any, may not be sufficient to ensure repayment. In addition, there are risks inherent in making any loan, including risks with respect to the period of time over which the loan may be repaid, risks relating to proper loan underwriting, risks resulting from changes in economic and industry conditions and risks inherent in dealing with individual borrowers. In order to successfully manage credit risk, we must, among other things, maintain disciplined and prudent underwriting standards and ensure that our bankers follow those standards. The weakening of these standards for any reason, such as an attempt to attract higher yielding loans, a lack of discipline or diligence by our employees in underwriting and monitoring loans, the inability of our employees to adequately adapt policies and procedures to changes in economic or any other conditions affecting borrowers and the quality of our loan portfolio, may result in loan defaults, foreclosures and additional charge-offs and may necessitate that we increase our ACL, each of which could adversely affect our net income. As a result, our inability to successfully manage credit risk could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We may be required, in the future, to recognize a credit loss with respect to investment securities.
Our securities portfolio currently includes securities with unrecognized losses. As of December 31, 2020, gross unrealized losses in our securities portfolio were $7.3 million. We may continue to observe declines in the fair market value of these securities. Securities issued by certain states and municipalities have recently come under scrutiny due to concerns about credit quality. Although management believes the credit quality of the Company’s state and municipal securities portfolio to be good, there can be no assurance that the credit quality of these securities will not decline in the future. We evaluate the securities portfolio for any securities with an associated credit loss each reporting period, as required by GAAP in the United States. There can be no assurance, however, that future evaluations of the securities portfolio will not require us to recognize credit losses with respect to these and other holdings. For example, it is possible that government-sponsored programs to allow mortgages to be refinanced to lower rates could materially adversely impact the yield on our portfolio of mortgage-backed securities, since a significant portion of our investment portfolio is composed of such securities.
We are exposed to the risk of environmental liabilities in connection with real properties acquired.
During the ordinary course of business, we foreclose on and take title to properties securing certain loans. In doing so, there is a risk that hazardous or toxic substances could be found on these properties. If previously unknown or undisclosed hazardous or toxic substances are discovered, we may be liable for remediation costs, as well as for personal injury and property damage. Environmental laws may require us to incur substantial expenses which may materially reduce the affected property’s value or limit our ability to use or sell the affected property. In addition, future laws or more stringent interpretations or enforcement polices with respect to existing laws may increase our exposure to environmental liability. Although we have policies and procedures to perform an environmental review at the time of underwriting a loan secured by real property, and also before initiating any foreclosure action on real property, these reviews may not be sufficient to detect all potential environmental hazards. The remediation costs and any other financial liabilities associated with an environmental hazard could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Funding and Liquidity Risks
Our management of capital could adversely affect profitability measures and the market price of our common stock and could dilute the holders of our outstanding common stock.
Our capital ratios are significantly higher than regulatory minimums. We may lower our capital ratios through selective acquisitions that meet our disciplined criteria, share repurchase plans, organic loan growth, investment in securities, or a combination of all four. We continually evaluate opportunities to expand our business through strategic acquisitions. There can be no assurance that we will be able to negotiate future acquisitions on terms acceptable to us.
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Conversely, there may be circumstances under which it would be prudent to consider alternatives for raising capital to take advantage of significant acquisition opportunities or in response to changing economic conditions. In addition, we may need to raise additional capital in the future to have sufficient capital resources and liquidity to meet our commitments and fund our business needs and future growth, particularly if the quality of our assets or earnings were to deteriorate significantly. We may not be able to raise additional capital when needed on terms acceptable to us or at all. Our ability to raise additional capital, if needed, will depend on, among other things, conditions in the capital markets at the time, which are outside our control, and our financial performance. Further, if we need to raise capital in the future, we may have to do so when many other financial institutions are also seeking to raise capital and would then have to compete with those institutions for investors. An inability to raise additional capital on acceptable terms when needed could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, any capital raising alternatives could dilute the holders of our outstanding common stock and may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Conditions in the financial markets may limit access to additional funding to meet liquidity needs.
We may need or want to raise additional capital in the future to provide us with sufficient capital resources and liquidity to meet our commitments and business needs, particularly if our asset quality or earnings were to deteriorate significantly. Our ability to raise additional capital will depend on, among other things, conditions in the capital markets at that time, which are outside of our control, and our financial performance. Economic conditions and any loss of confidence in financial institutions generally may increase our cost of funding and limit access to certain customary sources of capital.
There can be no assurance that capital will be available on acceptable terms or at all. Any occurrence that may limit our access to the capital markets, such as a decline in the confidence of equity or debt purchasers, or counterparties participating in capital markets, may adversely affect our capital costs and our ability to raise capital and, potentially, our liquidity. Also, if we need to raise capital in the future, we may have to do so when many other financial institutions are also seeking to raise capital and would have to compete with those institutions for investors. An inability to raise additional capital on acceptable terms when needed could have a materially adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Legal, Accounting and Compliance Risks
We operate in a highly regulated environment and changes to or increases in, or supervisory enforcement of, banking or other laws and regulations or governmental fiscal or monetary policies could adversely affect us.
We are subject to extensive regulation, supervision and examination by federal and state banking authorities. In addition, as a publicly-traded company, we are subject to regulation by the SEC. Any change in applicable regulations or federal, state or local legislation or in policies or interpretations or regulatory approaches to compliance and enforcement, income tax laws and accounting principles could have a substantial impact on us and our operations. Changes in laws and regulations may also increase our expenses by imposing additional fees or taxes or restrictions on our operations. Additional legislation and regulations that could significantly affect our powers, authority and operations may be enacted or adopted in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Failure to appropriately comply with any such laws, regulations or principles could result in sanctions by regulatory agencies or damage to our reputation, all of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. For example, the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted in July 2010. Among other provisions, the legislation (i) created the CFPB with broad powers to regulate consumer financial products such as credit cards and mortgages, (ii) resulted in new capital requirements from federal banking agencies, (iii) placed new limits on electronic debit card interchange fees and (iv) required the SEC and national stock exchanges to adopt significant new corporate governance and executive compensation reforms, some of which have yet to be promulgated. The Dodd-Frank Act and regulations that have been adopted thereunder have increased the overall costs of regulatory compliance, and further regulatory developments whether related to Dodd-Frank or otherwise may lead to additional costs. In addition, the CFPB has broad rulemaking authority and is the principal federal regulatory agency responsible for the supervision and enforcement of a wide range of consumer protection laws for banks with greater than $10 billion in assets.
If we fail to maintain appropriate levels of capital or liquidity, we could become subject to formal or informal enforcement actions that may impose restrictions on our business, including limiting our lending activities or our ability to expand, requiring us to raise additional capital (which may be dilutive to shareholders) or requiring regulatory approval to pay dividends or otherwise return capital to shareholders. We also face the risk of becoming subject to new or more stringent requirements in connection with the introduction of new regulations or modifications of existing regulations, which could require us to hold more capital or liquidity or have other adverse effects on our business or profitability.
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Further, regulators have significant discretion and authority to prevent or remedy unsafe or unsound practices or violations of laws or regulations by financial institutions and holding companies in the performance of their supervisory and enforcement duties. The exercise of regulatory authority may have an adverse impact, which could be material, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Additionally, our business is affected significantly by the fiscal and monetary policies of the U.S. federal government and its agencies, including the Federal Reserve.
We cannot accurately predict the full effects of recent legislation or the various other governmental, regulatory, monetary and fiscal initiatives which have been and may be enacted on the financial markets, on the Company and on the Bank. The terms and costs of these activities, or any worsening of current financial market and economic conditions, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as the trading price of our common stock.
Changes in accounting standards could materially impact our financial statements.
From time to time, the FASB and the SEC change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our financial statements. These changes can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations.
FASB’s ASU 2016-13, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326) Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, became effective on January 1, 2020. The amendments in this ASU introduce a new impairment model based on CECL rather than incurred losses. The CECL model applies to most debt instruments, including loan receivables and loan commitments.
Unlike the incurred loss models, the CECL model does not specify a threshold for the recognition of an impairment allowance. Rather, the Company must recognize an impairment allowance equal to its current estimate of expected credit losses for financial instruments as of the end of the reporting period. Measuring expected credit losses will most likely be a significant challenge for all entities, including the Company.
Further, the impairment allowance measured under the CECL model will differ from the impairment allowance measured under the Company’s prior incurred loss model. To initially apply the amendments, the Company recorded a cumulative-effect adjustment to its Consolidated Balance Sheet as of January 1, 2020 (a modified retrospective approach). The adoption of the standard has resulted in an overall increase in the allowance for credit losses. It is also possible that the Company’s ongoing reported earnings and lending activity will be negatively impacted in periods following adoption.
Risks Relating to Markets and External Events
National and global economic and other conditions could adversely affect our future results of operations or market price of our stock.
Our business is directly impacted by factors such as economic, political and market conditions, broad trends in industry and finance, changes in government monetary and fiscal policies and inflation, foreign policy, and financial market volatility, all of which are beyond our control. Global economies continue to face significant challenges to achieving normalized economic growth rates and there are continuing concerns about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic related to the level of U.S. government debt and fiscal actions that may be taken to address that debt. There can be no assurance that economic conditions will continue to improve, and these conditions could worsen. Any renewed deterioration in the economies of the nation as a whole or in our markets would have an adverse effect, which could be material, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, and could also cause the market price of our stock to decline.
Substantial competition in our market areas could adversely affect us.
Commercial banking is a highly competitive business. We compete with other commercial banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions and finance, insurance and other non-depository companies operating in our market areas. We also experience competition, especially for deposits, from Internet-based banking institutions, which have grown rapidly in recent years. We are subject to substantial competition for loans and deposits from other financial institutions. Some of our competitors are not subject to the same degree of regulation and restriction as we are and/or have greater financial resources than we do. Some of our competitors may have liquidity issues, which could impact the pricing of deposits, loans and other financial products in our markets. Our inability to effectively compete in our market areas could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
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Our business is subject to the risks of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires and other natural catastrophic events.
A major catastrophe, such as an earthquake, tsunami, flood, fire or other natural disaster, could result in a prolonged interruption of our business. For example, our headquarters are located in Tacoma, Washington and we have operations throughout the Northwest, a geographical region that has been or may be affected by earthquake, tsunami and flooding activity. Because we primarily serve individuals and businesses in the Northwest, a natural disaster likely would have a greater impact on our business, operations and financial condition than if our business were more geographically diverse. The occurrence of any of these natural disasters could negatively impact our performance by disrupting our operations or the operations of our customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Risks Relating to Investment in our Stock
There can be no assurance as to the level of dividends we may pay on our common stock.
Holders of our common stock are only entitled to receive such dividends as our board of directors declares out of funds legally available for such payments. Although we have historically declared cash dividends on our common stock, we are not required to do so and there may be circumstances under which we would eliminate our common stock dividend in the future. This could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
We rely on dividends and other payments from our bank for substantially all of our revenue.
We are a separate and distinct legal entity from the Bank, and we receive substantially all of our operating cash flows from dividends and other payments from the Bank. These dividends and payments are the principal source of funds to pay dividends on our capital stock and interest and principal on any debt we may have. Various federal and state laws and regulations limit the amount of dividends that the Bank may pay to us. Also, our right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiary’s liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary’s creditors. In the event the Bank is unable to pay dividends to us, we may not be able to service debt, pay obligations, or pay dividends on our common stock. The inability to receive dividends from the Bank could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We have various anti-takeover measures that could impede a takeover.
Our articles of incorporation include certain provisions that could make it more difficult to acquire us by means of a tender offer, a proxy contest, merger or otherwise. These provisions include certain non-monetary factors that our board of directors may consider when evaluating a takeover offer, and a requirement that any “Business Combination” be approved by the affirmative vote of no less than 66 2/3% of the total shares attributable to persons other than a “Control Person.” These provisions may have the effect of lengthening the time required for a person to acquire control of us through a tender offer, proxy contest or otherwise, and may deter any potentially hostile offers or other efforts to obtain control of us. This could deprive our shareholders of opportunities to realize a premium for their Columbia common stock, even in circumstances where such action is favored by a majority of our shareholders.
ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
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ITEM 2.     PROPERTIES
The Company’s principal properties include our corporate headquarters which is located at 13th & A Street, Tacoma, Washington, two operations facilities in Pierce County, Washington, one operations facility in Vancouver, Washington, and one operations facility in Wilsonville, Oregon.
The Company’s branch network as of December 31, 2020 is made up of 145 branches located throughout several Washington, Oregon and Idaho counties compared to 146 branches at December 31, 2019. The number of branches per state, as well as whether they are owned or operated under a lease agreement is detailed in the following table:
 Number of
Branches
Occupancy Type
OwnedLeased
Washington branches70 51 19 
Oregon branches60 33 27 
Idaho branches15 10 
Total Columbia Bank branches145 94 51 
For additional information concerning our premises and equipment and lease obligations, see Notes 7 and 9 respectively, to the Consolidated Financial Statements in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report.
ITEM 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
For information regarding the Company’s legal proceedings, please see Note 17, to the Consolidated Financial Statements in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report.
ITEM 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.
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PART II
ITEM 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Common Stock
The Company’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC under the symbol “COLB.” At January 31, 2021, the number of shareholders of record was 3,166. This figure does not represent the actual number of beneficial owners of common stock because shares are frequently held in “street name” by securities dealers and others for the benefit of individual owners who may vote the shares.
At December 31, 2020, there were no stock options outstanding. Additional information about stock options and other equity compensation plans is included in Note 22 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The following table provides information as of December 31, 2020, regarding securities issued and to be issued under our equity compensation plans that were in effect during 2020:
 Year Ended December 31, 2020
 Number of Shares to be
Issued Upon Exercise of
Outstanding Options and Rights
Weighted Average
Exercise Price of
Outstanding Options and Rights
Number of Shares
Remaining Available for
Future Issuance Under
Equity Compensation
Plans (1)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
— $— 2,516,610 
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
— — — 
 
__________
(1)Includes 2,292,751 shares available for future issuance under the current stock option and equity compensation plan and 223,859 shares available for purchase under the Employee Stock Purchase Plan as of December 31, 2020.

The following table provides information about repurchases of common stock by the Company during the quarter ended December 31, 2020:
Period
Total Number of Common Shares Purchased (1)
Average Price Paid per Common Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plan (2)
Maximum Number of Remaining Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plan (2)
10/1/2020 - 10/31/202052 $23.09 — 3,500,000 
11/1/2020 - 11/30/2020788 28.08 — 3,500,000 
12/1/2020 - 12/31/2020— — — 3,500,000 
840 27.77 — 
 __________
(1)Common shares repurchased by the Company during the quarter consisted of cancellation of 840 shares of common stock to pay the shareholders’ withholding taxes. There were no shares of common stock purchased under the Company’s stock repurchase program during the quarter.
(2)On October 28, 2020, the board of directors approved a stock repurchase program to repurchase up to 3.5 million shares of its outstanding stock, up to a maximum aggregate purchase price of $100.0 million through December 31, 2021.
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Five-Year Stock Performance Graph
The following graph shows a five-year comparison of the total return to shareholders of Columbia’s common stock, the NASDAQ Composite Index (which is a broad nationally recognized index of stock performance by companies listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market) and the KBW Regional Banking Index (comprised of 50 banks and bank holding companies headquartered throughout the country, including Columbia).
The definition of total return includes appreciation in market value of the stock as well as the actual cash and stock dividends paid to shareholders. The graph assumes that the value of the investment in Columbia’s common stock, the NASDAQ Composite and the KBW Regional Banking Index was $100 on December 31, 2015, and that all dividends were reinvested.
 colb-20201231_g1.jpg
IndexPeriod Ending
12/31/201512/31/201612/31/201712/31/201812/31/201912/31/2020
Columbia Banking System, Inc.100.00 144.57 143.65 123.46 143.71 132.56 
NASDAQ Composite100.00 108.87 141.13 137.12 187.44 271.64 
KBW Regional Banking Index
100.00 139.02 141.45 116.70 144.49 131.91 
Source: Bloomberg LP, New York City, NY
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ITEM 6.     SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

Five-Year Summary of Selected Consolidated Financial Data (1) 
2020201920182017 (2)2016
 (dollars in thousands except per share amounts)
For the Year
Interest income$517,809 $529,952 $497,069 $374,746 $337,969 
Interest expense$17,698 $36,547 $18,230 $6,757 $4,350 
Net interest income$500,111 $493,405 $478,839 $367,989 $333,619 
Provision for credit losses$77,700 $3,493 $14,769 $8,631 $10,778 
Noninterest income$104,500 $97,181 $88,256 $109,642 $88,082 
Noninterest expense$334,519 $345,482 $340,490 $291,017 $261,142 
Net income$154,244 $194,451 $172,882 $112,828 $104,866 
Net income applicable to common shareholders$154,244 $194,451 $172,882 $112,828 $104,709 
Per Common Share
Earnings (Basic)$2.17 $2.68 $2.36 $1.86 $1.81 
Earnings (Diluted)$2.17 $2.68 $2.36 $1.86 $1.81 
Book Value$32.79 $29.95 $27.76 $26.70 $21.52 
Averages
Total assets$15,401,219 $13,341,024 $12,725,086 $10,134,306 $9,311,621 
Interest-earning assets$13,916,611 $11,837,633 $11,241,321 $9,098,276 $8,363,309 
Loans$9,411,213 $8,612,478 $8,409,373 $6,682,259 $6,052,389 
Securities, including FHLB stock$3,982,918 $3,167,112 $2,790,700 $2,350,844 $2,269,121 
Deposits$12,512,255 $10,523,687 $10,410,404 $8,482,350 $7,774,309 
Shareholders’ equity$2,263,276 $2,116,642 $1,969,179 $1,410,056 $1,269,801 
Financial Ratios
Net interest margin (tax equivalent)3.65 %4.24 %4.33 %4.18 %4.12 %
Return on average assets1.00 %1.46 %1.36 %1.11 %1.13 %
Return on average common equity6.82 %9.19 %8.78 %8.00 %8.26 %
Average equity to average assets14.70 %15.87 %15.47 %13.91 %13.64 %
At Year End
Total assets$16,584,779 $14,079,524 $13,095,145 $12,716,886 $9,509,607 
Loans$9,427,660 $8,743,465 $8,391,511 $8,358,657 $6,213,423 
ACL$149,140 $83,968 $83,369 $75,646 $70,043 
Securities, including equity securities and FHLB stock$5,233,839 $3,794,262 $3,193,408 $2,753,271 $2,288,817 
Deposits$13,869,862 $10,684,708 $10,458,126 $10,532,085 $8,059,415 
Shareholders’ equity$2,347,607 $2,159,962 $2,033,649 $1,949,922 $1,251,012 
Nonperforming Assets
Nonaccrual loans$34,806 $33,060 $54,842 $66,189 $27,756 
OREO and OPPO553 552 6,049 13,298 5,998 
Total nonperforming assets$35,359 $33,612 $60,891 $79,487 $33,754 
Nonperforming loans to year end loans0.37 %0.38 %0.65 %0.79 %0.45 %
Nonperforming assets to year end assets0.21 %0.24 %0.46 %0.63 %0.35 %
ACL to year end loans1.58 %0.96 %0.99 %0.91 %1.13 %
Net loan charge-offs$14,160 $2,894 $7,046 $3,028 $8,907 
Other nonfinancial data
Full-time equivalent employees2,091 2,162 2,137 2,120 1,819 
Banking branches145 146 150 155 143 
 __________
(1)These unaudited schedules were derived from our audited financial statements and provide selected financial information concerning the Company that should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this report.
(2)During 2017, Columbia acquired Pacific Continental.
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Consolidated Five-Year Financial Data (1) 
Years ended December 31,
2020201920182017 (2)2016
(in thousands, except per share amounts)
Interest Income:
Loans$426,003 $448,041 $428,197 $324,229 $291,465 
Taxable securities81,578 69,864 55,969 38,659 35,167 
Tax-exempt securities9,567 10,735 12,201 11,045 11,121 
Deposits in banks661 1,312 702 813 216 
Total interest income517,809 529,952 497,069 374,746 337,969 
Interest Expense:
Deposits9,367 22,146 12,105 4,800 3,134 
FHLB advances and FRB borrowings6,264 11,861 3,750 1,078 671 
Subordinated debentures1,871 1,871 1,871 304 — 
Other borrowings196 669 504 575 545 
Total interest expense17,698 36,547 18,230 6,757 4,350 
Net Interest Income500,111 493,405 478,839 367,989 333,619 
Provision for credit losses77,700 3,493 14,769 8,631 10,778 
Net interest income after provision for credit losses422,411 489,912 464,070 359,358 322,841 
Noninterest income104,500 97,181 88,256 109,642 88,082 
Noninterest expense334,519 345,482 340,490 291,017 261,142 
Income before income taxes192,392 241,611 211,836 177,983 149,781 
Provision for income taxes38,148 47,160 38,954 65,155 44,915 
Net Income$154,244 $194,451 $172,882 $112,828 $104,866 
Less: Dividends on preferred stock— — — — 157 
Net Income Applicable to Common Shareholders$154,244 $194,451 $172,882 $112,828 $104,709 
Per Common Share
Earnings basic$2.17 $2.68 $2.36 $1.86 $1.81 
Earnings diluted$2.17 $2.68 $2.36 $1.86 $1.81 
Average number of common shares outstanding (basic)70,835 71,999 72,385 59,882 57,184 
Average number of common shares outstanding (diluted)70,880 72,032 72,390 59,888 57,193 
Total assets at year end$16,584,779 $14,079,524 $13,095,145 $12,716,886 $9,509,607 
Long-term obligations$35,092 $35,277 $35,462 $35,647 $— 
Cash dividends declared per common share$1.34 $1.40 $1.14 $0.88 $1.53 
 __________
(1)These unaudited schedules were derived from our audited financial statements and provide selected financial information concerning the Company that should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this report.
(2)During 2017, Columbia acquired Pacific Continental.
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ITEM 7.     MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
This discussion should be read in conjunction with our Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report. In the following discussion, unless otherwise noted, references to increases or decreases in average balances in items of income and expense for a particular period and balances at a particular date refer to the comparison with corresponding amounts for the period or date for the previous year.
Critical Accounting Policies
We have established certain accounting policies in preparing our Consolidated Financial Statements that are in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. Our significant accounting policies are presented in Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report. Certain of these policies require the use of judgments, estimates and economic assumptions which may prove inaccurate or are subject to variation that may significantly affect our reported results of operations and financial position for the periods presented or in future periods. Management believes that the judgments, estimates and economic assumptions used in the preparation of the Consolidated Financial Statements are appropriate given the factual circumstances at the time. We consider the following policies to be most critical in understanding the judgments that are involved in preparing our Consolidated Financial Statements.
Allowance for Credit Losses
In accordance with ASU 2016-13, the Company adopted ASC 326 on January 1, 2020. The allowance for credit losses under ASC 326 is an accounting estimate of expected losses over the contractual life of assets carried at amortized cost within the Company’s loan portfolio at the balance sheet date. The ASU requires a financial asset (or group of financial assets) measured at amortized cost to be presented at the net amount expected to be collected. The allowance for credit losses is a valuation account that is deducted from the amortized cost basis of the financial asset to present the net carrying value at the amount expected to be collected on the financial asset.
The quantitative allowance is calculated using a DCF approach with a probability of default methodology. The probability of default is an assumption derived from regression models which determine the relationship between historical defaults and certain economic variables. The Company determines a reasonable and supportable forecast and applies that forecast to the model to determine defaults over the forecast period. Following the forecast period, the economic variables used to calculate the probability of default revert to a historical average. Other assumptions relevant to the discounted cash flow model to derive the quantitative allowance include the loss given default, which is the estimate of loss for a defaulted loan, and the discount rate applied to future cash flows. The model calculates the net present value of each loan using both the contractual and expected cash flows, respectively. The ACL is determined at the end of each quarter and is based on all relevant information and expectations at that time in accordance with GAAP and the ACL guidance. Future changes to the estimate are likely as new information becomes available regarding economic conditions, loan composition and identifiable risk factors. While quantifiable estimates are generated, management judgements regarding credit risks and the inherent imprecision with the models utilized support the overall ACL.
In addition to the quantitative portion of the allowance for credit losses, the Company also considers the effects of the following qualitative factors in its calculation of expected losses in the loan portfolio:
Economic and business conditions;
Concentration of credit;
Lending management and staff;
Lending policies and procedures;
Loss and recovery trends;
Nature and volume of the portfolio;
Trends in problem loans, loan delinquencies and nonaccrual loans;
Quality of internal loan review; and
Other external factors such as the effect of economic stimulus and loan modification programs.
These qualitative factors are based in quantitative factors but also include a high degree of subjectivity and changes in any of the factors could have a significant impact on our calculation of the allowance.
Loans for which repayment is expected to be provided substantially through the operation or sale of collateral are considered collateral-dependent. The allowance for credit losses for collateral-dependent loans is measured on the basis of the fair value of the collateral when foreclosure is probable.
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Our allowance policy and the judgments, estimates and economic assumptions involved are described in greater detail in the “Allowance for Credit Losses and Unfunded Commitments and Letters of Credit” section of this discussion and in Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report.
Business Combinations
The Company applies the acquisition method of accounting for business combinations. Under the acquisition method, the acquiring entity in a business combination recognizes the assets acquired and liabilities assumed at their acquisition date fair values. Management utilizes prevailing valuation techniques appropriate for the asset or liability being measured in determining these fair values. Any excess of the purchase price over amounts allocated to assets acquired, including identifiable intangible assets, and liabilities assumed is recorded as goodwill. Where amounts allocated to assets acquired and liabilities assumed is greater than the purchase price, a bargain purchase gain is recognized. Acquisition-related costs are expensed as incurred.
Valuation and Recoverability of Goodwill
Goodwill represented $765.8 million of our $16.58 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2020. The Company has a single reporting unit. We review goodwill for impairment annually as of July 31st, and also test for impairment between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of our reporting unit below its carrying amount. Such events and circumstances may include among others: a significant adverse change in legal factors or in the general business climate; significant decline in our stock price and market capitalization; unanticipated competition; the testing for recoverability of a significant asset group within the reporting unit; and an adverse action or assessment by a regulator. Any adverse change in these factors could have a significant impact on the recoverability of goodwill and could have a material impact on our Consolidated Financial Statements.
Under the Intangibles-Goodwill and Other topic of the FASB ASC, goodwill is not amortized but rather is tested for impairment at the reporting unit level on at least an annual basis. ASU 2017-04, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other (Topic 350) – Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment, was issued in January 2017 and was effective January 1, 2020, reduced the cost and complexity of goodwill impairment testing. This ASU eliminated the second step of the goodwill impairment test. The test for impairment requires the Company to compare the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value. If the fair value of the reporting unit is less than its carrying value, the difference is the amount of impairment and goodwill is written down to the fair value of the reporting unit. Prior to the issuance of ASU 2017-04, the second step of the impairment process was to compare the implied fair value of goodwill with its carrying value. Prior to completing the impairment test, however, the Company may assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. If such an assessment indicates the fair value of the reporting unit is more likely than not greater than its carrying value, then the impairment test need not be completed.
The accounting estimates related to our goodwill require us to make considerable assumptions about fair value. Our assumptions regarding fair value require significant judgment about economic and industry factors and the growth and earnings prospects of the Bank. Changes in these judgments, either individually or collectively, may have a significant effect on the estimated fair value.
Based on the results of the annual goodwill impairment test, we determined that no goodwill impairment charges were required as our single reporting unit’s fair value exceeded its carrying amount. As of December 31, 2020, we determined there were no events or circumstances which would more likely than not reduce the fair value of our reporting unit below its carrying amount.
Please refer to Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report for further discussion.
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2020 Financial Summary
Income Statement
Consolidated net income for 2020 was $154.2 million, or $2.17 per diluted common share, compared with net income of $194.5 million, or $2.68 per diluted common share in 2019.
Net interest income for 2020 increased 1% to $500.1 million compared to $493.4 million for 2019. Interest income was $517.8 million in 2020, compared to $530.0 million in 2019. The decrease was primarily due to lower income from loans due to the lower rate environment. Interest expense for 2020 decreased $18.8 million to $17.7 million compared to $36.5 million in 2019, due to lower rates on interest-bearing deposits and FHLB advances as well as lower average FHLB balances.
Provision for credit loss on loans under the CECL methodology was $77.7 million in 2020, compared to $3.5 million in 2019 under the previous ALLL methodology. The increase in provision expense for 2020 reflects negative economic trends during 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
Noninterest income was $104.5 million for 2020, an increase from $97.2 million for 2019. The increase in 2020 was primarily due to investment securities gains and loan revenue partially offset by decreases in other noninterest expense and deposit account and treasury management fees.
Noninterest expense for 2020 decreased $11.0 million to $334.5 million compared to $345.5 million in 2019. The decrease was due to lower legal and professional fees and compensation and employee benefits partially offset by an increase in other noninterest expenses.
Balance Sheet
Total assets at December 31, 2020 were $16.58 billion, up 18%, or $2.51 billion from $14.08 billion at the end of 2019.
The Company is well-capitalized with a total risk-based capital ratio of 14.45% at December 31, 2020.
Cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2020 were $653.8 million, up 164% from $247.7 million at December 31, 2019 due to an increase in interest-earnings deposits with banks.
Investment securities at December 31, 2020 were $5.21 billion, up 39% from $3.75 billion at December 31, 2019.
Loans were $9.43 billion, an increase of $684.2 million from $8.74 billion at the end of 2019.
The ACL increased to $149.1 million at December 31, 2020 compared to $84.0 million at December 31, 2019 due to negative economic trends during 2020 as a result of COVID-19. The Company’s allowance was 1.58% of total loans, compared with 0.96% at the end of 2019.
Nonperforming assets totaled $35.4 million at December 31, 2020, up from $33.6 million at December 31, 2019. Nonperforming assets to year end assets decreased to 0.21% at December 31, 2020 compared to 0.24% at December 31, 2019.
Deposits were $13.87 billion at December 31, 2020, an increase of $3.19 billion compared to $10.68 billion at December 31, 2019.
FHLB advances were $7.4 million at December 31, 2020, a decrease of $946.1 million compared to December 31, 2019.

COVID-19 Update
We continue to manage our response to the pandemic by adapting to the recommendations of healthcare officials in order to provide a safe environment for continued operations. Our multi-layered approach incorporates remote work arrangements where possible as well as social distancing, enhanced cleaning practices, face coverings and contact tracing of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Updates regarding new guidance from local and national healthcare officials, information on vaccines and information on access to free support resources available through our benefits program have been provided through regular communication with employees. The measures we have implemented have proved effective in mitigating the spread of the virus in our organization and have allowed for the continued safe operation of our branches and facilities.
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Flexibility and adaptability have been key factors in supporting our employees throughout the pandemic. As cases in communities climbed during the fall and local governments responded with additional guidelines, we transitioned our workforce back to remote arrangements. We continue to employ the use of virtual collaboration tools, video conferencing and regular communication to facilitate work and support our Do RIGHT culture. A variety of flexible work options including shift changes, temporary remote work assignments and other accommodations allowed employees with school-aged children to better manage the challenges of distance learning. Opportunities for professional learning and development inside our organization have also transitioned to virtual environments, providing uninterrupted access to leadership training programs and ongoing development activities for employees working remotely as well as those working on location.
Support for small businesses and those impacted in our communities continues to grow through our Pass It On Project. Businesses in the program perform a service for a member of the community who has been impacted by the pandemic and Columbia Bank pays the bill. More than 350 businesses have participated in the program, putting more than $600,000 to work in our communities to serve those most in need of support. Services provided range from cataract surgery and free lunch kits for students to automotive repairs and veterinary services. Stories of the businesses involved in the project can be found online at passitonproject.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic created economic disruptions that slowed business activity, weakened consumer confidence and increased unemployment in our markets, resulting in financial difficulties for some of our borrowers, particularly who work or operate businesses in industries most affected by the pandemic, such as hotels and restaurants. In response, we have worked with borrowers through deferral programs and other relief actions, including our participation in the PPP. Before the SBA began accepting forgiveness applications for PPP loans, we had $970.8 million of PPP loans outstanding to 4,447 commercial businesses.
Businesses continued to submit applications for forgiveness of their first draw PPP loans throughout the fourth quarter. As of December 31, 2020, we had received 2,400 forgiveness applications and approved/submitted over 2,200 to the SBA for more than $400 million. Applications for new requests and processing of existing requests for loans at or below $150,000 was paused in anticipation of the SBA’s proposed streamlined forgiveness process. Processing of forgiveness applications in this category will resume when the new streamlined process goes into practice.
For additional information on the impact and potential impact of COVID-19 on our business, financial condition, liquidity, capital and results of operations, see Part I, Item 1A Risk Factors of this report.

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Summary
A summary of the Company’s results of operations for each of the last three years ended December 31 follows:
 Year endedIncrease
(Decrease)
Year endedIncrease
(Decrease)
Year ended
2020Amount% (1)2019Amount% (1)2018
(dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
Interest income$517,809 $(12,143)(2)$529,952 $32,883 $497,069 
Interest expense17,698 (18,849)(52)36,547 18,317 100 18,230 
Net interest income500,111 6,706 493,405 14,566 478,839 
Provision for credit losses
77,700 74,207 N/M3,493 (11,276)(76)14,769 
Noninterest income104,500 7,319 97,181 8,925 10 88,256 
Noninterest expense:
Compensation and employee benefits209,722 (3,145)(1)212,867 12,668 200,199 
Other expense124,797 (7,818)(6)132,615 (7,676)(5)140,291 
Total334,519 (10,963)(3)345,482 4,992 340,490 
Income before income taxes
192,392 (49,219)(20)241,611 29,775 14 211,836 
Provision for income taxes
38,148 (9,012)(19)47,160 8,206 21 38,954 
Net income
$154,244 $(40,207)(21)$194,451 $21,569 12 $172,882 
Less: earnings allocated to participating securities
712 (818)(53)1,530 (362)(19)1,892 
Earnings allocated to common shareholders
$153,532 $(39,389)(20)$192,921 $21,931 13 $170,990 
Earnings per common share, diluted
$2.17 $(0.51)(19)$2.68 $0.32 14 $2.36 
__________
(1)Percentage changes greater than +/- 1000% are considered not meaningful and are presented as “N/M.”
Net Interest Income
Net interest income is the difference between interest income and interest expense. Net interest income on a fully taxable-equivalent basis expressed as a percentage of average total interest-earning assets is referred to as the net interest margin, which represents the average net effective yield on interest-earning assets.

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The following table sets forth the average balances of all major categories of interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, the total dollar amounts of interest income on interest-earning assets and interest expense on interest-bearing liabilities, the average yield earned on interest-earning assets and average cost of interest-bearing liabilities by category and in total, net interest income, net interest spread, net interest margin and the ratio of average interest-earning assets to interest-bearing liabilities:
Net Interest Income Summary
 202020192018
 Average
Balances
Interest
Earned/
Paid
Average
Rate
Average
Balances
Interest
Earned/
Paid
Average
Rate
Average
Balances
Interest
Earned/
Paid
Average
Rate
 (dollars in thousands)
ASSETS
Loans, net (1)(2)$9,411,213 $430,923 4.58 %$8,612,478 $453,552 5.27 %$8,409,373 $432,781 5.15 %
Taxable securities3,531,357 81,578 2.31 %2,703,423 69,864 2.58 %2,275,892 55,969 2.46 %
Tax exempt securities (2)451,561 12,110 2.68 %463,689 13,589 2.93 %514,808 15,445 3.00 %
Interest-earning deposits with banks
522,480 661 0.13 %58,043 1,312 2.26 %41,248 702 1.70 %
Total interest-earning assets13,916,611 525,272 3.77 %11,837,633 538,317 4.55 %11,241,321 504,897 4.49 %
Other earning assets235,491 231,731 224,595 
Noninterest-earning assets1,249,117 1,271,660 1,259,170 
Total assets$15,401,219 $13,341,024 $12,725,086 
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Money market accounts$3,043,731 $4,381 0.14 %$2,591,303 $10,598 0.41 %$2,695,585 $6,216 0.23 %
Interest-bearing demand1,248,975 1,453 0.12 %1,064,145 1,676 0.16 %1,089,548 1,543 0.14 %
Savings accounts1,022,388 153 0.01 %892,518 183 0.02 %884,770 138 0.02 %
Interest-bearing public funds, other than certificates of deposit
544,109 2,003 0.37 %440,359 7,244 1.65 %244,943 2,002 0.82 %
Certificates of deposit348,855 1,377 0.39 %395,421 2,445 0.62 %452,756 2,206 0.49 %
Total interest-bearing deposits6,208,058 9,367 0.15 %5,383,746 22,146 0.41 %5,367,602 12,105 0.23 %
FHLB advances and FRB borrowings
342,721 6,264 1.83 %470,082 11,861 2.52 %166,577 3,750 2.25 %
Subordinated debentures
35,184 1,871 5.32 %35,368 1,871 5.29 %35,553 1,871 5.26 %
Other borrowings and interest-bearing liabilities
40,862 196 0.48 %34,622 669 1.93 %45,095 504 1.12 %
Total interest-bearing liabilities6,626,825 17,698 0.27 %5,923,818 36,547 0.62 %5,614,827 18,230 0.32 %
Noninterest-bearing deposits6,304,197 5,139,941 5,042,802 
Other noninterest-bearing liabilities206,921 160,623 98,278 
Shareholders’ equity2,263,276 2,116,642