LONG BEACH - The board of directors of Pacific Financial Corp., owner of The Bank of the Pacific, announced last week that they have declared a cash dividend to all shareholders of record as of Dec. 31, 2003 of $1.40 per share payable on or before Jan. 9, 2004.

This is consistent with the company's past practice of paying annual cash dividends to its shareholders and represents a 5 cent per share increase over last year's dividend.

"Although the low interest rate environment pressured our net-interest margins, we enjoyed very favorable loan and deposit growth sufficient to improve earnings again this year," Pacific Financial Corp. President Dennis Long said. "As a result, shareholders will enjoy a year over year increase in their dividend for the 20th year in a row."

Joe Malik, board chairman, explained, "This year's dividend is particularly gratifying in view of the pending merger with BNW Bancorp, Inc. (headquartered in Bellingham). It clearly serves to demonstrate our confidence in the financial benefits of joining our two companies early in 2004."

Pacific Financial Corp. is the financial holding company of The Bank of the Pacific. The Bank has $300 million dollars in total assets and operates 10 branches within Grays Harbor, Pacific, and Wahkiakum counties and a loan production office in Gearhart, Ore. The company offers a broad range of in-branch, online banking, and investment services.

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