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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

Deposit costs decreased by six basis points in the fourth quarter compared to the preceding quarter and 24 basis points compared to the fourth quarter a year ago. Total funding costs for the fourth quarter of 2012 decreased five basis points compared to the preceding quarter and 29 basis points from the fourth quarter a year ago. Asset yields decreased 17 basis points compared to the preceding quarter and decreased 25 basis points from the fourth quarter a year ago. Loan yields decreased by 19 basis points compared to the preceding quarter and decreased 27 basis points from the fourth quarter a year ago. Nonaccrual loans reduced the margin by approximately six basis points in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to approximately five basis points in the preceding quarter and approximately 14 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Fourth quarter net interest income, before the provision for loan losses, was $41.5 million, compared to $42.7 million in the preceding quarter and $41.6 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. For the full year of 2012, net interest income, before the provision for loan losses, was $167.6 million compared to $164.6 million in 2011.

"In addition to solid net interest income and deposit fees, our revenues from core operations* continued to benefit from another quarter of very strong mortgage banking results," said Grescovich. Significant homeowner refinance activity contributed to revenues from mortgage banking activities, which increased 33% to $4.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $3.3 million in the immediately preceding quarter and increased 136% from the $1.9 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. For the year ended December 31, 2012, revenues from mortgage banking increased to $12.9 million compared to $5.1 million for all of 2011. Deposit fees and other service charges were $6.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $6.7 million in the preceding quarter and a 9% increase compared to $5.9 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. Deposit fees and other service charges increased to $25.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, a 10% increase compared to the full year 2011. Miscellaneous revenues increased compared to prior periods primarily reflecting increased gains from the sale of SBA guaranteed loans, which totaled $558,000 and $876,000 for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2012, respectively, as well as the recognition in the current quarter of a $549,000 death benefit on a bank-owned life insurance policy. Loan servicing fees were reduced in the fourth quarter of 2012 as a result of a $400,000 impairment charge reflecting accelerated loan prepayments. Revenues from core operations* were $54.5 million in the fourth quarter compared to $54.3 million in the third quarter of 2012 and $50.5 million in the fourth quarter a year ago. For the year, revenues from core operations* increased 8% to $211.4 million compared to $196.2 million a year ago.

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