Banner Corporation Increases Quarterly Cash Dividend 20% to $0.18 Per Share and Approves Stock Repurchase Program

WALLA WALLA, Wash., March 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Banner Corporation (Nasdaq:BANR), the parent company of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, today announced its Board of Directors increased its regular quarterly cash dividend by 20% to $0.18 per share. The dividend will be payable April 15, 2014, to common shareholders of record on April 7, 2014.

Banner also announced its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to 5% of its common stock. Under the plan, shares may be repurchased by the Company in open market purchases. The extent to which the Company repurchases its shares and the timing of such repurchases will depend upon market conditions and other corporate considerations.

"We are pleased to announce another increase in our cash dividend which reflects the continued successful execution of our strategies to deliver sustainable profitability to Banner. This increase is a way for us to share that success with our shareholders," said Mark Grescovich, President and CEO. "We also believe having the option to repurchase shares offers an additional capital management tool for building long-term shareholder value."

About the Company

Banner Corporation is a $4.4 billion bank holding company operating two commercial banks in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Banner serves the Pacific Northwest region with a full range of deposit services and business, commercial real estate, construction, residential, agricultural and consumer loans. Visit Banner Bank on the Web at www.bannerbank.com.

CONTACT: MARK J. GRESCOVICH, PRESIDENT & CEO LLOYD W. BAKER, CFO (509) 527-3636Source:Banner Corporation