A Letter From The President:
2016 was a significant growth year for Columbia Bank as we exceeded $5 billion in total assets; continued to strengthen our corporate balance sheet; enhanced our service appeal with additional products, technology, and locations, while continuing our investment in the many New Jersey communities we so proudly serve.
Net Income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 was $37.8 million, which represented an increase of 12.9% relative to the comparable period in 2015. For the second year in a row, loan disbursements exceeded $1.0 billion. During 2016, commercial loans grew by $210 million, or 11.3%, while commercial transaction accounts increased by $73 million, or 8.3%. Columbia Bank also maintained its top 5-Star Bauer financial ranking, indicating our corporate strength and soundness based on their independent rating.
Throughout the year, we maintained marketplace competitiveness, while adding more technology-based conveniences, including an EMV Chip Card featuring the latest fraud protection and a new mobile app download for remote management of debit card transactions. Now in place, our "Universal Banker" program has also enhanced our in-branch customer experience by utilizing cross-trained banking specialists for a more seamless, personalized service. Columbia Bank's branch network was also upgraded with three new full-service offices in Oradell, Wayne, and Franklin Lakes.
An important corporate milestone, our largest philanthropic effort to date, also occurred in 2016, with cumulative donations of $1,000,000 being made to NJ charities and non-profit organizations. In addition to our monetary support, "Team Columbia" volunteers also participated in more than 100 community endeavors promoting local health and human services, affordable housing, neighborhood development, and financial literacy initiatives. It remains our corporate goal "to make a difference in peoples' lives."
Throughout 2017, we will be celebrating our 90th anniversary. Since 1927, it has been our mission to deliver exceptional banking services to businesses, communities, and residents across New Jersey. Our solid reputation, based on over nine decades of experience, certainly exemplifies our continued success in meeting this long standing goal.
And lastly, we are in the process of changing our corporate logo in order to better reflect who we are and what we offer--the strength, soundness, and experience of a 90-year-old financial institution that consistently provides an "enhanced" customer experience.
We look forward to the opportunity to provide value-added solutions for all of your business and personal banking needs!
Thomas J. Kemly
President and CEO