Fourth quarter profitable for Banner

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Banner Corp., the Walla Walla-based holding company of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, reported a profitable fourth quarter in 2011, according to its latest earnings report.

The company reported net income of $5.1 million in the last three months of 2011. That amount was down from $6 million in the preceding quarter but up from a $12.7 million net loss in the corresponding period a year earlier, the company said Wednesday.

The turnaround is attributed to several strategic objectives, said Banner President and Chief Executive Officer Mark J. Grescovich. Among them: Reducing the adverse effect of nonperforming assets, increasing client relationships and reducing the company's cost of funds, he said.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, Banner reported net income of $5.5 million, compared to a net loss of $61.9 million in 2010.

In the fourth quarter of the year, Banner paid a $1.6 million dividend on the $124 million of senior preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury under the Capital Purchase Program.

In addition, Banner accrued $425,000 for related discount accretion. Including the preferred stock dividend and related accretion, net income available to common shareholders was 18 cents per share for the last three months of 2011, compared to net income available to common shareholders of 24 cents per share in the third quarter and a net loss to common shareholders of 91 cents per share for the fourth quarter a year earlier.

The net loss in 2011 to common shareholders, including the preferred stock dividend and related accretion, was 15 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $7.21 per share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010.

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