Melanie Dressel
President and CEO, Columbia Banking System

There it grows again.

The big news at Columbia Banking System is its recent acquisition of the $2.4 billion-asset West Coast Bancorp in Lake Oswego, Ore. It is the latest of several deals Melanie Dressel has orchestrated over the past few years to fuel growth, as her community bank steadily progresses toward its goal of being more of a regional player in the Northwest.

With the West Coast deal closing in April, Columbia jumped to $7.3 billion in assets and added 58 branches, about a 60 percent increase. But, Dressel says, while growth is important, so is retaining the character of a true community bank that stresses service and value for customers.

To ensure its culture stays consistent, Columbia uses mystery shops as a yardstick. To Dressel's satisfaction, the overall score for almost 900 shops last year was 4.68 out of a possible 5. Dressel is on the board of the American Bankers Association, the Washington Bankers Association, Puget Sound Energy, the Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma, and the Washington Roundtable. She's also on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.