Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin said Thursday that it has offered buyouts to nearly 20% of its employees and is closing six branches as part of its ongoing effort to improve efficiency.

The $2.1 billion-asset company also announced that it is selling another branch in Winneconne, Wis., to Premier Community Bank in Marion, Wis.

In a news release, President and Chief Executive Chris Bauer said the moves are necessary for the Madison-based company, the parent of AnchorBank, to stay competitive as it continues to rebuild itself following the financial crisis. Battered by losses on real estate loans, Anchor for years struggled to meet minimum capital requirements and eventually declared bankruptcy to restructure its debt. It was recapitalized in late 2013, receiving $175 million from private and institutional investors, and late last year it raised $8 million in a stock offering.

"It's now been more than a year since our recapitalization," Bauer, one of American Banker's Community Bankers of the Year for 2014, said in a press release. "Now, it's time to address some historical issues to bring the Bank up to speed with an increasingly digital financial services landscape."

The company said that it has offered voluntary buyouts to 137 of the 705 of its employees. Those who accept the buyout will receive subsidized health coverage, job placement assistance and additional compensation.

The six branches slated to be closed are in Appleton, Menasha, Oshkosh, Janesville, Franklin and Madison. Its sale of the Winneconne branch, which has roughly $13.4 million of deposits, is expected to close in August.

"Consolidating these branches presents the opportunity to improve our long-term profitability and to reduce overlap where we have multiple branches servicing customers," AnchorBank chief retail banking officer Scott McBrair said in the release. "We will continue to serve our valued customers from surrounding AnchorBank branches."

Anchor BanCorp announced in February that it turned a $5.1 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2014, up 36% from the year before. However, its bank unit's efficiency ratio at Dec. 31 was 89.4%, well above the industry average.

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