U.S. SBA Names Banner Bank the Top Community Bank Lender to Small Businesses in Seattle/Spokane District

WALLA WALLA, Wash., May 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Banner Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Banner Corporation (Nasdaq:BANR), received top honors at the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 13th annual SBA Small Business Awards Gala on May 8 held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash. The SBA Seattle district office awarded Banner Bank "Top Community Lender of the Year" for the second year in a row.

Each year the SBA Seattle district office leadership, which serves Washington State and Northern Idaho, evaluates bank nominees on loan data from the prior fiscal year. Based on the number and total dollar amount of SBA 7(a) loans made, Banner was found to be the top community bank lender in the district for the second time.

"The SBA Seattle district office presents the lender awards to acknowledge the efforts and commitment of our highest volume lending partners," said Mark Costello, supervisory lender relations specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration Seattle district office. "This is the second year Banner Bank has received the Top Community Lender Award proving their ongoing commitment to the economic growth of small businesses in our state."

"It is an honor for our SBA lending efforts to be so highly recognized by the Small Business Administration Seattle district office for a second consecutive year," said Mark Grescovich, president and chief executive officer for Banner Bank. "As a Pacific Northwest community bank lender, a priority for Banner is to support entrepreneurs that, in turn, support the communities in which they operate. Being ranked as the top SBA 7(a) lender in the SBA Seattle/Spokane district is further evidence of Banner's strength as a commercial lender and illustrates successful execution of our strategies."

Banner Bank's SBA lending experts are located throughout the bank's footprint in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Each of Banner's relationship managers build long lasting relationships through anticipating and delivering the services their clients need by tailoring solutions utilizing best-in-class capabilities.

About Banner Bank

Banner Bank is a Washington-chartered commercial bank that conducts business from 84 locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Banner Bank is a community bank which offers a wide variety of commercial banking services and financial products to individuals and small and medium-sized businesses and their employees in its primary market area. Visit Banner Bank on the Web at www.bannerbank.com.

About Banner Corporation

Banner Corporation is a $4.5 billion bank holding company operating two commercial banks in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Banner serves the Pacific Northwest region with a full range of consumer and business deposit services, commercial real estate, construction, residential, agricultural and consumer loans.

CONTACT: FOR MORE INFORMATION: Dianne Larsen, Sr. Vice President, Director of Marketing dlarsen@bannerbank.comSource:Banner Corporation