Columbia Bank Review: A Community Banking Option With Low Account Minimums

GOBankingRates Score

4.3
Our take: Columbia Bank has some compelling features, although you'll need higher balances or qualifying activities to unlock all of the bank's best features.
  • Customer Service
    4.5
  • Account Offerings
    4.0
  • Account Minimums
    4.5
  • Services and Accessibility
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • High-quality mobile app
  • Community-based personal service
  • Variety of checking and money market accounts

Cons

  • No free savings accounts without qualifying activities or minimums

About Columbia Bank

Columbia Bank is a community bank that traces its roots back to 1993. Headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, Columbia Bank now has more than 145 branches throughout Washington, Idaho and Oregon. It offers the standard checking and savings accounts you expect in a community bank, as well as personal and home loans, credit cards, business accounts and investment services.

Columbia Bank Products

Even though it’s a community-based institution, Columbia Bank offers a comprehensive range of account types. Here’s a quick overview:

Product Key Details
Savings Account
  • Low, easily avoidable monthly fee
  • Mobile app and eStatements
Money Market Account
  • Two account options to choose from
  • Tiered interest rates
  • Free perks with higher-level account
Checking Account
  • Three account options
  • One interest-bearing account
  • Top-tier account offers numerous perks
CDs
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Available in both taxable accounts and IRAs
  • Jump & Bump option allows one-time rate adjustment
Loans
  • Personal loans, lines of credit, vehicle loans and home equity lines of credit
Credit Cards
  • Six different credit card choices
Sponsors of

Columbia Bank Checking Accounts

Columbia Bank has three different checking accounts. The Foundation Account is for customers age 17 and younger, the Neighborhood Account is the standard checking account, and the Relationship Account is the bank’s premier checking option.

Features

  • $3 monthly fee for the Foundation Account
  • $5 monthly fee for the Neighborhood Account, which can be waived with either a $2,500 minimum daily balance, one direct deposit, 10 debit card transactions, or if the customer is age 62 or older or has a military or student ID
  • $20 monthly fee for the Relationship Account, which can be waived with a $10,000 minimum daily balance or combined balances of $25,000 or more
  • Interest earned on Relationship Account balances of $2,500 or more
  • All checking accounts have a $25 minimum to open

Pros

Columbia Bank offers a variety of checking accounts to meet customer needs. The top-tier Relationship Account refunds non-Columbia Bank ATM fees, and it offers three complimentary boxes of checks per year and up to a $25 annual refund on a safe deposit box rental. There are no overdraft fees with the Foundation Account because the bank declines transactions when there’s not enough money in the account.

Sponsors of

Cons

Only one of the Columbia Bank checking accounts pays interest, and the annual percentage yield is low, peaking at 0.03% for Relationship Account customers with at least $250,000.

Columbia Bank Savings Account

Columbia Bank offers a single savings account, dubbed Everyday Savings. In addition to paying interest, the account offers free in-network ATM transactions.

Features

  • $3 monthly maintenance fee, but can be waived with one or more of the following: a minimum $300 daily balance, automatic $25 monthly transfers from another Columbia Bank account, or an account holder below age 18
  • $25 minimum opening deposit, or $5 for those age 17 and younger
  • Free Columbia Bank ATM transactions; $2.50 for out-of-network transactions

Pros

The Columbia Bank Everyday Savings account has a low monthly fee that is easily avoidable, along with a modest $25 minimum opening deposit.

Cons

Columbia Bank has a $35 overdraft fee, which is higher than at certain other banks. Rates may vary by location and balance, but near the bank’s Spokane location, the Everyday Savings APY is a rock-bottom 0.01%.

Columbia Bank Money Market Accounts

Columbia Bank offers two money market accounts: the Boost Money Market and Premier Money Market. You get more perks with the Premier Money Market account, including one free pack of checks per year.

Sponsors of

Features

  • Tiered interest rates
  • Free eStatements
  • Access to more than 140 free ATMs
  • One complimentary pack of checks per year for the Premier Money Market
  • $15 monthly fee for the Premier Money Market account, but it can be waived with a minimum $10,000 daily balance
  • $10 monthly fee for the Boost Money Market, which can be waived with a $1,000 daily balance

Pros

There are no check or debit charges with either money market account at Columbia Bank. ATM use at Columbia Bank machines is free, as is one pack of checks per year with the Premier Money Market account.

Cons

The Columbia Bank money market accounts have high monthly maintenance fees of $10 and $15, and the balances required to avoid those fees are also on the high side, at $1,000 and $10,000, respectively. APYs are low compared with other banks, topping out at a 0.05% APY for Premier Money Market balances of at least $1 million.

Columbia Bank CD Accounts

Columbia Bank offers CDs in both taxable accounts and individual retirement accounts. GOBankingRates has ranked Columbia Bank’s CD offerings among the Best CD Accounts of 2021.

Sponsors of

Features

  • $500 minimum deposit
  • Maturities from 30 days to 60 months
  • Jump & Bump CD allows extra deposits and a one-time rate jump, if applicable
  • Interest compounded quarterly on traditional CDs with maturities of at least one year
  • Jumbo CDs for deposits of at least $100,000

Pros

The low minimum deposit of $500 on CDs provides easy access for most customers. The Jump & Bump offering allows unlimited additional contributions, with a minimum add-on of $100. Rates are tiered, although currently there is no bonus given for larger deposits.

Cons

The maturity schedule is fairly limited, with no offerings with term lengths longer than 60 months available. Rates across the board for traditional CDs are low, topping out at 0.05% even for jumbo CDs, although the Jump & Bump offering does carry a 0.06% APY to start.

Banking Experience

As a community bank, the Columbia Bank experience is more tailored to in-person interactions. The website provides basic information, including helpful financial calculators and articles on finance, but overall the digital experience isn’t as robust as with online-only banks.

Physical Branch Locations

Columbia Bank has more than 145 branch locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Sponsors of

Mobile and Digital Experience

Columbia Bank offers complete access to customer accounts via online and mobile platforms, letting customers deposit checks, pay bills and transfer funds wherever they are. The mobile app, which receives 4.5 stars on the App Store and 4.4 stars on Google Play, offers remote check deposit.

How To Open a Columbia Bank Account

To open an account at Columbia Bank, you’ll need to visit a branch.

Customer Service

You can reach Columbia Bank at 877-272-3678. Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The bank also offers 24/7 telephone banking at 800-304-0050 as well as a live chat facility online.

Key Information

Customer service number: 877-272-3678

Routing number: 125108272

Columbia Bank Fees

As a traditional bank, Columbia has a roster of fees. Most can be avoided by meeting certain criteria, especially in terms of monthly maintenance fees. The $35 overdraft fee at Columbia is higher than at certain other banks, as is the cost of a wire transfer, which can hit $45. If you make more than six monthly transactions in your savings or money market account, you’ll get hit with a $5 excess transaction fee. Cashier’s checks cost $8 each, and non-Columbia Bank ATM transactions cost $2.50.

Final Take

Columbia Bank has a wide range of products and services, but it is geographically limited to the Pacific Northwest, and its APYs can’t compete with online competitors. The high-quality mobile app keeps customers in touch even if they stray out of the bank’s primary service area, so location shouldn’t necessarily preclude potential customers from opening an account.

Editor’s Favorite

Low account minimums and a good variety of basic account types make Columbia Bank a decent option for those in the Pacific Northwest looking for a community banking option.

Columbia Bank FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Columbia Bank.
  • Where is Columbia Bank located?
    • Columbia Bank has branches in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. It is headquartered in Tacoma, Washington.
  • How many branches does Columbia Bank have?
    • Columbia Bank has more than 145 branches.
  • Does Columbia Bank use Zelle?
    • Columbia Bank offers Zelle, and peer-to-peer transfers are free.
  • Does Columbia Bank have mobile deposit?
    • Yes, Columbia Bank offers mobile deposit via iPhone, iPad or mobile phone or tablet for Android.
  • Does Columbia Bank offer free money for signing up for an account?

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 2, 2020.

This content is not provided by Columbia Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Columbia Bank.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.

Columbia Bank Review: A Community Banking Option With Low Account Minimums
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