Commencement Bank of Tacoma and Olympia’s Thurston First Bank today announced a strategic combination of their organizations described as a merger-of-equals.

Upon completion of the transaction, both banks will continue to operate under their respective names, but the two banks will consolidate regulatory charters with Thurston First Bank merging into Commencement Bank.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both banks and is subject to regulatory approval and approval by the shareholders. The merger is likely to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2016. 

H.R. (“Hal”) Russell will remain president and CEO of Commencement and Jim Haley will join the combined firm’s executive team, while continuing as president and CEO of Thurston First.

As a result of the transaction, Commencement’s shareholders are expected to own approximately 65 percent of the combined company and Thurston First’s shareholders are expected to own approximately 35 percent.

Based on financials as of March 31, 2016, the combined company will have approximately $308 million in assets, $228 million in loans, $265 million in deposits, and a capital position of over $35 million in common equity.