Strategic Merger

Strategic Merger

From the opening of our doors in 2004 to our move to Downtown Olympia in 2014, we are pleased to share that we have reached yet another exciting milestone: we have joined forces with Commencement Bank!

This strategic merger creates opportunity and growth, allowing us to better serve our community with an increased lending limit, access to a broader range of products and services, and a more expansive geographic footprint. We will continue to be heavily involved in the community as well as the revitalization of Downtown Olympia.

For complete details on the merger, we invite you to read the following press release: Commencement Bank (CBWA) Announces Successful Completion of Merger with Thurston First Bank

(Released November 1, 2016)

Tacoma, Washington – Commencement Bank (OTCQX “CBWA”) is pleased announce the successful completion of its strategic merger with Olympia-based Thurston First Bank. The proposal was accepted by all necessary agencies in September 2016 and approved by both banks' shareholders on October 26, 2016. The Bank officially combined the morning of November 1, 2016.

Merger Details

Both Thurston First and Commencement now operate under one charter with Thurston First acting as a division of Commencement Bank. The Thurston First Bank name will remain for at least twelve months, at which time the name continuance will be evaluated by executive management and board of directors.

"I am honored to serve as the President and CEO of the combined Bank," said H.R. Russell. "Thurston First and Commencement are both exemplary community banks, and by joining together, we are better positioned to serve our current and future clients."

Management and Governance

The new board of directors is comprised of four Thurston First and seven Commencement members with Commencement Chairman, Thomas A. Valentine, retaining his position. In addition, the new Bank will establish a Thurston County-based advisory board to represent the needs of the community. Tom Dhamers, who assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer for the combined Bank, joined the existing CBWA Executive Management Team. As outlined in the merger agreement, H.R. Russell is President and CEO of CBWA and remains one of the 11 board members.


Commencement Bank trades all stock on the OTCQX Banks Marketplace under ticker symbol CBWA. Thurston First Bank shareholders will receive 0.9024 shares of CBWA common stock in exchange for each share of Thurston First common stock. All fractional shares will be exchanged for a cash payout. Terms of the exchange are as outlined in the definitive agreement. The shareholders of the combined Bank now benefit from a larger shareholder base, and Thurston First shareholders have the added value of a consistent trading platform, increased liquidity, and accessible market data.

About Thurston First Bank

Thurston First Bank, headquartered in Olympia, Washington, was founded in 2004 and designed to provide businesses and professionals with knowledge and resources of innovative banking solutions that did not previously exist in Thurston County. It has earned an excellent reputation for integrity, personalized service, technology-based solutions, and a highly valued base of exceptional clients and partners. As a local bank, it is committed to promoting social and cultural growth by reinvesting in the community.

About Commencement Bank

Commencement Bank, headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, was formed in 2006 to provide traditional, reliable, and sustainable banking in Pierce County, South King County and the surrounding areas. The team of experienced banking experts focuses on personal attention, flexible service, and building strong relationships with customers through state of the art technology as well as traditional delivery systems. As a local bank, Commencement Bank is deeply committed to the community. For more information, please visit For information related to the trading of CBWA, please visit

Contact Information: Hal Russell, President & CEO, 253.284.1801

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