Continuing its expansion into metropolitan Seattle, Cowlitz Bancorp. in Longview, Wash., said it has bought an escrow company for an undisclosed price.

Cowlitz has bought Bay Escrow Co. of Seattle. For several years, the escrow company, which is privately held, has been the servicing arm of Bay Mortgages/Seattle, a mortgage company that Cowlitz acquired this year.

In addition to mortgage operations, the $169 million-asset company is also building its banking operation in Seattle. It is in the process of opening a branch of its Cowlitz Bank subsidiary in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. The new branch will do business as Bay Bank. -- Louis Whiteman

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