Banner income flies up $9.6 million from 2011

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Banner Corp. reported net income of $14.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from $5.1 million a year ago, according to the latest filing from the Walla Walla parent of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank.

The company reported total net income for the year of $64.9 million, compared to $5.5 million in 2011, a sign of growth and economic recovery.

“Banner’s 2012 performance proves that our super community bank strategy is working,” said Banner President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Grescovich in a prepared statement. “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.”

Grescovich said he anticipates slow revenue growth because of the prolonged low interest rates.

“The current headwinds associated with the prolonged very low interest rate environment and the sluggish economy will make revenue growth challenging going forward,” Grescovich said. “Nonetheless, our strong balance sheet and improved operations have positioned us well to meet this difficult environment.’

He touted the company’s redemption of senior preferred stock shares as a highlight of 2012. During the fourth quarter, Banner repurchased 43,375 shares of senior preferred stock in private transactions at an average of $991 per share. On Dec. 24 the remaining 30,041 shares were redeemed at a liquidation value of $1,000 per share.

Banner had a $1 million provision for loan losses in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $5 million during the same time a year before. Nonperforming loans decreased 54 percent to $34.4 million at the end of December, compared to fourth quarter 2011 when they were $75.3 million.

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