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Banner Corporation Reports Net Income Of $5.1 Million In Fourth Quarter; 2011 Net Income Highlighted By Improved Credit Quality And Strong Revenue Generation

Net loans increased $74.3 million during the quarter to $3.21 billion at December 31, 2011, compared to $3.14 billion at September 30, 2011. Net loans were $3.31 billion a year ago. Commercial and agricultural business loans increased to $819.6 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $792.4 million at September 30, 2011, and $790.4 million a year ago. Commercial and multi-family real estate loans were $1.23 billion at December 31, 2011, reflecting a modest increase from $1.20 billion at both September 30, 2011 and a year earlier.

The combined total of securities at fair value, available for sale and held to maturity, increased to $622.0 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $548.4 million at September 30, 2011 and $367.7 million at December 31, 2010. However, the aggregate total of securities and interest-bearing deposits decreased to $691.7 million at December 31, 2011 compared to $783.2 million at September 30, 2011 and was nearly unchanged compared to $689.6 million at December 31, 2010. The increase in the securities holdings reflects a modest extension of the expected duration of this aggregate total designed to increase the yield relative to interest-bearing deposits. The securities purchased in recent periods were primarily short- to intermediate-term U.S. Government Agency notes and mortgage-backed securities.

Total assets were $4.26 billion at December 31, 2011, compared to $4.29 billion at the end of the preceding quarter and $4.41 billion a year ago. Deposits totaled $3.48 billion at December 31, 2011, compared to $3.54 billion at September 30, 2011 and $3.59 billion a year ago. Non-interest-bearing accounts increased 29% to $777.6 million at December 31, 2011, compared to $600.5 million a year ago. At September 30, 2011, non-interest-bearing accounts totaled $763.0 million. Interest-bearing transaction and savings accounts were $1.45 billion at December 31, 2011, compared to $1.46 billion at September 30, 2011 and $1.43 billion at December 31, 2010.

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