Columbia Banking System Inc. has agreed to buy Auburn, Wash.-based Cascade Bancorp for about $15 million in stock.

The acquisition would extend $608 million-asset Columbia's presence in the Seattle-Tacoma market, bringing it into Auburn and Kent, which are suburbs of Seattle.

Columbia, the largest publicly traded independent bank in Washington state, has 18 offices in Pierce, King, and Cowlitz counties.

Three-branch Cascade Community Bank, which has $85 million of assets, would be merged into Columbia Bank. Cascade Bancorp shareholders would receive 2.27 Columbia Banking System shares for each of their own.

The transaction, which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

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