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Banner Corporation Reports Net Income Of $14.7 Million, Or $0.69 Per Diluted Share, In Fourth Quarter; Net Income Highlighted By Record Revenue Generation And Further Improved Credit Quality

WALLA WALLA, Wash., Jan. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Banner Corporation (Nasdaq:BANR), the parent company of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, today reported net income of $14.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $15.6 million in the preceding quarter and $5.1 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. For the full year ended December 31, 2012, Banner reported net income of $64.9 million, compared to $5.5 million in 2011.

"Banner's 2012 performance proves that our super community bank strategy is working. Our continued improvement in asset quality, record revenues from core operations, significant customer account growth and strong mortgage banking results clearly demonstrate that our strategic plan and initiatives are effective," said Mark J. Grescovich, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Similar to the third quarter, Banner's fourth quarter and full year 2012 revenues from core operations* (net interest income before the provision for loan losses plus total other operating income excluding fair value and other-than-temporary impairment (OTTI) adjustments) increased 8% when compared to the same periods a year ago. However, while this marks the thirteenth consecutive quarter that we have realized a year-over-year increase in revenues from core operations*, the current headwinds associated with the prolonged very low interest rate environment and the sluggish economy will make revenue growth challenging going forward. Nonetheless, our strong balance sheet and improved operations have positioned us well to meet this difficult environment."

"An additional highlight of 2012 was the redemption of our senior preferred shares," Grescovich continued. "We believe this redemption was a further indication of Banner's continued operating improvement, financial strength and appropriate capital management. We are pleased with the work we have done to strengthen our asset quality metrics, operating results and profitability trends so that we were well positioned from a financial perspective to redeem these preferred shares."

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