Banner Bank to merge with AmericanWest of Spokane

By (Everett) Herald Business Journal and BBJ staff

Banner Bank is merging with AmericanWest Bank and will operate under the Banner brand name, the companies announced today.

The combined company will be a “super community bank” with more than $9.7 billion in assets, $6.8 billion in loans, $7.9 billion in deposits and about 190 branches across five Western states.

Banner Bank, headquartered in Walla Walla, has six locations in Whatcom County. Spokane-based AmericanWest’s closest branch is in downtown Everett.

Banner will continue to be led by Mark J. Grescovich as president and CEO. Five representatives from AmericanWest will join the Banner board of directors at closing, increasing the total number of directors to 17.

“This strategic combination is an exciting step forward for both Banner and AmericanWest,” Grescovich said in a statement. “Together, we will have the opportunity to deploy our super community bank model throughout a strengthened presence in Washington, Oregon and Idaho and into attractive growth markets in California and Utah.”

The move will allow the banks to expand product offerings and technology, said Scott A. Kisting, chairman and CEO of AmericanWest Bank, in the statement.

“Merging our two banks is the right step forward because we share similar values and cultures, including the importance of building lasting relationships with our clients and working as a team to deliver seamless solutions that add value for them,” King said.

Under the deal, AmericanWest equity holders will receive a fixed amount of 13.23 million in shares of Banner common stock and $130 million in cash. Those shares will be about 38.8 percent of Banner’s stock.

The total value of the transaction is about $702 million based upon Banner’s closing price on Tuesday. The merger is planned to close in the second quarter 2015.

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