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Banner Corporation Earns $11.7 Million, Or $0.60 Per Diluted Share, In Third Quarter; Quarter Highlighted By Strong Revenues And Deposit Growth And Increased Dividend

WALLA WALLA, Wash., Oct. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Banner Corporation (Nasdaq:BANR), the parent company of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, today reported net income available to common shareholders in the third quarter of 2013 of $11.7 million, or $0.60 per diluted share, compared to $11.8 million, or $0.60 per diluted share in the preceding quarter and $15.2 million, or $0.79 per diluted share, in the third quarter a year ago. For the first nine months of 2013, Banner reported net income available to common shareholders of $35.0 million, or $1.80 per diluted share, compared to $45.8 million, or $2.48 per diluted share in the first nine months of 2012. Banner's results for the first nine months of 2012 were significantly augmented by a $29.4 million net tax benefit as a result of the reversal of its deferred tax asset valuation allowance, which was partially offset by a $16.9 million net loss for fair value adjustments.

"Banner's third quarter results highlight another quarter of successful execution of our strategies to deliver sustainable profitability for our shareholders," said Mark J. Grescovich, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our third quarter results also reflect the difficult operating environment presented by continued very low market interest rates and slow economic growth, which resulted in a decline in the net interest margin, modest loan demand and reduced mortgage banking revenues. Nevertheless, our client acquisition strategies again resulted in strong core deposit growth and, coupled with further improvements in asset quality, demonstrate that our strategic plan is on track. Banner's solid financial metrics and market share gains provide strong evidence that our super community bank business model is effectively building franchise and shareholder value."

Third Quarter 2013 Highlights (compared to third quarter 2012 except as noted)
  • Net income was $11.7 million, or $0.60 per diluted share.
  • Return on average assets was 1.09%.
  • Return on average equity was 8.78%.
  • Revenues from core operations* remained strong at $52.4 million, compared to $53.1 in the preceding quarter and $54.3 million in the third quarter a year ago.
  • Net interest margin was 4.09%, compared to 4.20% in the preceding quarter and 4.22% in the third quarter a year ago.
  • Core deposits increased 10% and represent 75% of total deposits.
  • Deposit fees and other service charges increased 5% to $7.0 million.
  • Non-performing assets decreased to $29.8 million, or 0.70% of total assets, at September 30, 2013, a 10% decrease compared to three months earlier and a 50% decrease compared to a year earlier.
  • The ratio of tangible common equity to tangible assets increased to 12.32% at September 30, 2013.*
  • Banner increased its regular quarterly cash dividend by 25% to $0.15 per share.

*Earnings information excluding gain on sale of securities, fair value and other-than-temporary impairment (OTTI) adjustments (alternately referred to as other operating income from core operations or revenues from core operations) and the ratio of tangible common equity (which excludes other intangible assets and preferred stock) to tangible assets represent non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) financial measures Management has presented these non-GAAP financial measures in this earnings release because it believes that they provide useful and comparative information to assess trends in Banner's core operations reflected in the current quarter's results and facilitate the comparison of our performance with the performance of our peers. Where applicable, comparable earnings information using GAAP financial measures is also presented.

Income Statement Review

"We have been able to maintain a strong net interest margin in recent quarters as a result of reductions in our cost of funds and changes in our asset mix," said Grescovich, "however, the continuing pressure on asset yields was clearly evident in the most recent quarter." Banner's net interest margin was 4.09% in the third quarter of 2013, compared to 4.20% in the preceding quarter and 4.22% in the third quarter a year ago. For the first nine months of 2013, the net interest margin was 4.15% compared to 4.20% for the first nine months of 2012.

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