So, how come Columbia State Bank is doing so well?

This week’s acquisition of faltering American Marine Bank by Tacoma’s Columbia State Bank has begged a big question from some of American Marine’s customers: What was Columbia State doing right that American Marine was doing wrong?

The short answer is that Columbia State had a diversified investment base that, unlike American Marine, was not overly dependent on real estate.

Columbia State also managed to increase its capital at a time when other banks, like American Marine, were hemorrhaging it.

Here’s what Brad Williamson, director of the state Department of Financial Institution’s Division of Banks, had to say about that:

“Columbia’s had great success raising capital which in the current environment speaks really well of them. As for our large banks, I expect them to come out of this banking situation stronger than they went into it.”

Columbia State also appears to have a strong leader in CEO Melanie Dressel, who was three times named one of the nation’s 25 most powerful female bankers by U.S. Banker magazine.

That’s the short answer. For more, see business reporter Rachel Pritchett’s story here.