Columbia Bancorp Inc. in The Dalles, Ore., said its former chief executive officer, Terry L. Cochran, has returned to run the ailing company.

Mr. Cochran has been rehired as the president and CEO, the $1.1 billion-asset Columbia said late Wednesday. He succeeded Roger Christensen, who resigned as the CEO for personal reasons, and Craig Ortega, who stepped down as the president but will remain with the company as an executive officer at its Columbia River Bank.

In 2001, Mr. Cochran stepped down as Columbia Bancorp's president and CEO. He has 42 years of banking experience, including 20 with Columbia.

His company has been hobbled of late by bad loans to home builders. For the second quarter, it reported a loss of $206,000 and said its nonperforming loan rate rose nearly ninefold from a year earlier, to 3.81% of its loans, or $42.2 million.

Last month Columbia shuttered its mortgage unit in response to a sharp slowdown in housing sales in the Pacific Northwest.

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