Exhibit 99.1Press Release of the Registrant
 
  
Contact: Terry L. Cochran, President and CEO
541/298-6633 or tcochran@columbiabancorp.com
Staci L. Coburn, Executive Vice President and CFO
541/298-3169 or scoburn@columbiariverbank.com
   
   
 
 
COLUMBIA BANCORP REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER 2008 FINANCIAL RESULTS

The Dalles, Oregon – January 30, 2009 – Columbia Bancorp (Nasdaq:CBBO), the bank holding company for Columbia River Bank, announced today that it recognized a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $7.4 million, or $0.74 per share, during the fourth quarter of 2008.  The charge did not affect Columbia’s liquidity, operations or regulatory capital ratios.  Columbia also recognized a provision for loan losses of $9.0 million, or $0.90 per share, during the fourth quarter.  These two charges, totaling $16.4 million, contributed to a net loss of $13.3 million, or $1.32 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2008.  “During the fourth quarter, we reduced salaries and employee benefits by $1.1 million compared to third quarter, halted branch expansion plans and lowered or eliminated expenses for discretionary items not directly impacting the customer experience.  We also increased retail deposits by $62.2 million which supplemented a strong liquidity position during the fourth quarter,” explained Terry Cochran, President and CEO of Columbia.

The goodwill impairment of $7.4 million represented the entire balance of goodwill, which was recorded as part of the acquisition of Valley Community Bancorp in November 1998.  This charge was identified in connection with the preparation of Columbia’s financial statements for the fourth quarter of 2008 and was primarily due to the reduction in Columbia’s market capitalization since September 30, 2008.

“During the fourth quarter, our deposit gathering efforts netted approximately 1,100 new deposit relationships throughout all of our regions,” remarked Shane Correa, Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer.  Reflecting on 2008, Correa continued “We saw declining non-interest bearing deposit balances for construction industry customers in 2008, but we were successful in recruiting new small business and individual customers using our personalized customer service approach combined with technology and core operation improvements made during the year.”  As part of a fourth quarter 2008 strategy to rebalance its loan and deposit portfolios, Columbia reduced its gross loans by $60.2 million to $864.0 million as of December 31, 2008, compared to $924.2 million as of September 30, 2008.  As of December 31, 2008, total deposit balances were unchanged at $1.0 billion compared to September 30, 2008; however, the composition improved with a 9% increase in retail deposits, allowing Columbia to strategically decrease higher cost wholesale/brokered deposits.

CREDIT QUALITY

Non-performing assets as of December 31, 2008 totaled $102.0 million compared to $68.9 million as of September 30, 2008 and $10.5 million as of December 31, 2007.  The net change of $33.1 million since September 30, 2008 includes a $29.1 million net increase in non-accrual loans and a $4.0 million net increase in other real estate owned (“OREO”).  Non-accrual loan activity included an increase of $39.9 million during the fourth quarter, offset by reductions of $10.8 million.  The reductions included $4.6 million transferred to OREO, charge-offs of $2.6 million, pay downs of $1.8 million and $1.8 million of improved accounts that returned to accrual status.

Growth in non-accrual totals for the fourth quarter of 2008 was primarily due to residential lot and subdivision loans, which accounted for approximately 52% of the increase.  This was centered in seven relationships totaling $20.7 million.  The change also included a large agricultural relationship of $12.5 million that went into non-accrual status when the client’s alternate take-out funding failed to materialize as planned.  The remaining non-accrual changes were spread throughout the portfolio, including smaller residential and agricultural relationships.  Borrower payment performance on residential development projects continues to suffer due to the unstable economy and the resulting lack of demand for residential lots and new home construction.  Columbia expects continued stress on credit quality until the economy begins to recover.
 

The following information was filed by Columbia Bancorp Or on Friday, January 30, 2009 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-K Annual Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.

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