Community welcomes Columbia Bank MLK branch

Columbia Bank this morning was officially welcomed to the Hilltop area with a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the opening of the bank’s new branch on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.
Columbia Bank officials, bank employees, Martin Luther King Housing Development personnel and others crowded into the 1,790-square-foot bank for the 9 a.m. ceremony.
The bank, which has been open for business since Oct. 16, is located in the Alberta J. Canada Building, which opened at the end of August.
Just prior to the cutting of the ribbon, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking Tex Whitney thanked everyone who had a hand in making the opening of Columbia Bank’s 33rd branch a reality.
Branch manager Julie Borell gave credit to the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, the organization responsible for the Canada Building, for bringing Columbia Bank to Hilltop.
“I’d like to thank them for their help and support in getting us here,” she said.
Borell and bank employees Diana Cook, Nadia Osborne and Lisa Ellis then used a pair of giant novelty scissors to cut the ribbon stretched out just inside the bank’s entrance.
“The community is really friendly,” Borell said in a phone interview yesterday. “It’s a small town atmosphere.”
Columbia Bank has always wanted a bank in the Hilltop area, Borell said, and wanted to be part of the revitalization of the Hilltop area, which has gone from a high-crime area into a secure urban neighborhood.
When approached by the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, “we jumped at the opportunity.”
“They’re excited we’re here,” Borell said of customer response to the new branch.
Bank employees, too, were happy about the new Hilltop branch.
“I’m very excited to be serving in this community,” Ellis said.
Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association Felix Flannigan said bringing businesses and families back to Hilltop was a top priority, and Columbia Bank’s new branch was an example of that.
“That’s what it’s all about,” he added, saying it’s part of a plan to “prime the pump” in terms of self-sustaining economic development and prosperity in Hilltop.
Columbia Bank is headquartered in Tacoma and has 33 banking offices located in the Tacoma metropolitan area and contiguous parts of the Puget Sound, as well as Longview and Woodland in southwest Washington.
The new branch is located at 1102 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, and is open Monday – Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.