The Bank Slate


Banner efficiency effort includes branch closures

Banner Corp. in Walla Walla, Wash., plans to close 15 branches as part of a broader efficiency effort. 

The $16.6 billion-asset company said in a presentation Thursday that its Banner Forward program will also involve reducing office and operations space and minimize third-party spending. 

The goal is to lower annual expenses by $15 million in 2022 and by $25 million the following year. About 60% of the cost savings will come from compensation, while another 20% is tied to lower occupancy costs. 

Banner Forward is “a bank-wide initiative to drive revenue growth and reduce operating expense,” Mark Grescovich, the company’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

“The focus … is to accelerate growth in commercial banking, deepen relationships with retail customers, advance technology strategies to enhance our digital service channels, while streamlining underwriting and back office processes,” he added.

Banner said its efforts will also feature the implementation of robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline back-shop processes, along with new loan origination technology. The company also plans to accelerate client acquisition through optimized digital marketing and new tech-enabled digital account opening options. 

The program has upfront costs. 

The company incurred $7.6 million of restructuring charges in the third quarter, with an expectation of another $6 million of charges through the first half of next year. 

The company also plans to increase its focus on middle-market clients, while optimizing client pricing and deepening client use of treasury management products.

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