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

WALLA WALLA, Wash., May 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Banner Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Banner Corporation (Nasdaq:BANR), received top honors at the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 12th annual SBA Small Business Awards Gala on May 9 held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash. The SBA Seattle District Office awarded Banner Bank "Community Lender of the Year" for the SBA's fiscal year ending September 30, 2012.

Each year the leadership in the SBA Seattle District Office, which serves Washington State and Northern Idaho, evaluates bank nominees on loan data from the prior fiscal year. Based on the number of SBA 7(a) and 504 loans made and the total dollar amount of both loan types, Banner Bank and one other community bank came out on top in the Community Bank division; the only time in which there was a tie. Banner Bank made 103 SBA 7(a) and 504 loans worth over $37 million in 2012 within the Seattle District Office's region.

"The SBA Seattle District Office presents the lender awards to acknowledge the efforts and commitment of our highest volume lending partners," Mark Costello, Supervisory Lender Relations Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration Seattle District Office said in a prepared statement. "The Gala is the perfect venue to acknowledge the hard work all of our lenders do for their communities. The district perennially has high performing community banks and "national" banks, and because the two groups have such different characteristics, we decided years ago that it's appropriate to award and acknowledge both segments separately."

Accepting the Community Lender of the Year award on behalf of Banner Bank was Walter McLaughlin, Senior Vice President, SBA Manager for Banner. "Being ranked at the top for SBA lending in the Seattle District region is a testament to the hard work and responsive, knowledgeable service our team provides to all Banner Bank clients, especially in this competitive market," McLaughlin said. "Banner understands the vital role small businesses play in the economic recovery and we strive to help entrepreneurs convert ideas into successful businesses that contribute to their communities."

Banner Bank's SBA lending experts are located throughout the bank's footprint in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Each of Banner's specialists 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 85 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 $4.3 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: Dianne Larsen, Sr. Vice President, Director of Marketing DLarsen@bannerbank.comSource:Banner Corporation