Columbia Bank, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia Banking System, Inc. (NASDAQ: COLB) (“Columbia”), today announced the expansion of its Business Lending Division into Utah with the hires of veteran Salt Lake City-area bankers Jeffrey Thomas and James Divver.
Thomas and Divver, both with more than 20 years of banking leadership experience in Utah, will build a team dedicated to delivering the full suite of business lending services that Columbia offers across a footprint that also includes Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho. The executives will pair Columbia’s resources, technology and breadth of services with deep Utah market expertise and local decision-making to serve Utah businesses and residents.
“Our expansion into Utah is a logical extension of our growing Western footprint and a timely opportunity to enter one of the region’s strongest markets with proven local leaders who are well-positioned to ramp up quickly and make a substantial impact,” said Clint Stein, president and CEO of Columbia.
“Utah is one of the best places in the country to live and work, with a rapidly growing business community we are thrilled to join,” Stein continued. “The economy is diverse and poised for continued expansion. We aim to be the best regional bank in the West, and Utah is an important part of the big picture for Columbia.”
Last year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Utah’s economy No. 1 among all 50 states. Utah was also the second-fastest growing state in the country in 2021, trailing only Idaho, according to U.S. Census Bureau population data. Over the past decade, the state consistently ranked among the top 10 in the country in terms of net in-migration and economic growth.
Thomas joins as a Senior Vice President and Commercial Banking Lead. He will spearhead Columbia’s Utah operations. Thomas most recently was Senior Vice President and Business Banking Market Leader for U.S. Bank in the Salt Lake City area. Earlier in his career, he held senior leadership positions at Zions Bank in Utah. A graduate of the University of Utah, he also earned an MBA from Westminster College. Thomas is a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School at University of Washington as well.
“Utah boasts a robust talent pool from which I am confident we will attract the deep team of local bankers we need to exceed the expectations of customers throughout the state,” Thomas said. “Our plan is to quickly build a full-service team, beginning with a loan production office in the Salt Lake City area.”
Thomas is accompanied by Divver, who joins as a Senior Vice President and Business Development Officer.
Divver was previously Senior Vice President of Government Relations for Zions Bank. Over two decades at Zions, he held positions of increasing responsibility. During his tenure, he oversaw the bank’s sales resource team, private/executive banking, new business, and Zions Insurance Agency. Divver holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Utah.