Stock sale back on for Banner Bank

A stock offering of $150 million is under way for the bank's parent company.

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The Walla Walla-based parent company of Banner Bank announced Thursday it is rekindling a sale of the company's common stock.

Banner Corp. officials said they have commenced a public offering of $150 million of common stock. The amount is twice as much as a stock offering that was initiated last December and canceled two weeks later. At the time company officials said they would launch a new offering this year after an improvement in quarterly results.

According to Thursday's announcement Banner Corp., also the parent company of San Juan-based Islanders Bank, intends to use proceeds from the sale to strengthen Banner Bank's reportedly weakened capital position and to support managed growth. The remaining proceeds are expected to be used for general working capital purposes, the announcement said.

D.A. Davidson & Co. will serve as the book-running manager of the offering. Sandler O'Neill & Partners and McAdams Wright Ragen are co-managers.

An additional $22.5 million in shares could be offered if demand exists.

With $4.4 billion in assets, Banner Bank is the third-largest bank based in Washington. It has 85 offices in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

According to a story in The Seattle Times, its size and assets may prove to be a key factor going into the stock sale.

Only the strongest banks have been successful at seeking new capital in the Northwest.

Tacoma's Columbia Banking System raised $240.1 million last April, and Umpqua Holdings of Portland raised nearly $95 million last February, the Times reported.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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