Updated: Banner climbs rankings with acquisition


WALLA WALLA — Banner Corp. will purchase Home Federal Bancorp Inc., the holding company for Nampa, Idaho,-based Home Federal Bank, in a $197 million transaction that will bolster Banner’s presence in metropolitan Idaho.

The acquisition, announced jointly by the two companies Tuesday, will give Banner $5.2 billion in assets and 112 branches in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The deal will make it the fourth largest bank ranked by assets headquartered in the Pacific Northwest.

In a conference call on the transaction this morning, Banner President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Grescovich said the move builds Banner’s presence in Boise, where Banner will become the second largest bank in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Northwest. That, he said, “aids in the goal to be the community bank of choice in the Pacific Northwest.”

Home Federal President and CEO Len Williams said this morning the move “puts an exclamation point” on Banner’s relevance in the Boise market. He said the cultures of both banks will mesh well, particularly given Banner’s experience with integration.

“Frankly, I can’t wait to get moving because I see this as a win for all of our stakeholders,” Williams said.

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014. Home will merge into Banner, and Home Federal Bank will merge into Banner Bank.

Williams and Home Federal Chief Financial Officer Eric Nadeau will remain with Banner.

“There’s great talent inside the Home team, and we will be taking the best of both organizations to make a very successful transition here,” Grescovich said.

As part of the transaction, holders of Home stocks and options will receive $87.6 million in cash, subject to adjustment based on closing capital, and 2.9 million shares of Banner common stock. The $197 million transaction value is based on the closing price of $37.66 for Banner shares Tuesday.

The acquisition will put Banner in a top-10 deposit market share position in Washington, Idaho and Oregon with an established platform for growth and continued operational improvement throughout the Pacific Northwest, according to the announcement.

Banner CFO Lloyd Baker said this morning the company believes the transaction will provide 6 percent per-share earnings growth in the first year and 8 percent in the second year. The merger, he said, “will position Banner well for further growth opportunities.”

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.


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