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I am pleased to report that in 2015, Columbia Bank had another growth year. At year-end (December 31, 2015), our deposit base grew to $3.6 billion and total assets increased to $4.8 billion. Additional indicators of our corporate balance sheet strength include commercial checking deposit growth of 10%, commercial lending growth of 18% and a 7% increase in total loans originated resulting in $1 billion in new loans. Our financial success is further confirmed by our 5-Star (Superior) Ranking from Bauer Financial, an independent bank rating organization confirming that Columbia has the necessary resources to deal with a variety of economic conditions.
As a result of our increased deposit base and lending portfolio, we are able to continue our efforts to enhance our products, services and branch network. Today, Columbia remains a highly-regarded source for consumer banking, retirement planning and wealth management. Our bank is also known as a reliable commercial lender and a provider of business banking products, services and online banking solutions with decades of lending expertise. Whether you are a consumer, business owner or professional, developer, investor, entrepreneur or municipal entity, you will gain a distinct “competitive advantage” by selecting Columbia Bank.
During the year, we made a considerable investment in technology that improved our customer service and greatly supported our efforts to offer innovative financial services. Technology-based banking, especially for smart phones, mobile devices and personal computers, were also enhanced with improved capabilities. At the same time, we improved our branch network by relocating two offices to larger facilities and renovating several others. In 2016, we plan to open a state-of-the-art office in Oradell, an exciting new market for our bank.
Being a community-based bank, Columbia also remains committed to supporting local endeavors that make a difference in people’s lives. Our support in New Jersey goes well beyond simply writing checks; there’s a defined purpose behind it, including supporting programs with volunteer efforts that encourage affordable housing…feed the poor and homeless…and develop stronger, safer communities. For our efforts, Columbia was named “Corporate Citizen of the Year” by NJ BIZ, a statewide business publication.
On behalf of Columbia Bank and its Board of Directors, we wish to thank you for your support as we continue as New Jersey’s finest community bank. It remains our goal to make each customer transaction a value-added experience, supported by the latest banking technology, and featuring personal service, convenience and choice.