Banner in Washington accelerates branch closing efforts

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Banner Corp. in Walla Walla, Wash., is getting more aggressive with permanent branch closures.

The $14.6 billion-asset company, which closed six locations in late September, is planning to shutter 14 branches in December, or roughly 8% of its network.

“Client adoption of mobile and digital banking accelerated during the second and third quarters, while physical branch transaction volume declined,” Banner said in a Thursday release announcing third-quarter earnings. “We believe this shift in client service delivery channel preference will sustain after the pandemic social distancing related restrictions have ended.”

Several banks have announced plans to close branches in recent months, including CB Financial Services in Carmichaels, Pa.; Mercantile Bank in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Nicolet Bankshares in Green Bay, Wis.; and National Bank Holdings in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Simmons First National in Pine Bluff, Ark., has announced plans to close 23 branches and a loan production office by the end of this year, and Great Southern Bancorp in Springfield, Mo., is considering closures. Five Star Bank in Warsaw, N.Y., is shrinking its branch network by 10%.

Banner’s third-quarter earnings increased by 55% from a quarter earlier, to $36.5 million. The loan-loss provision fell by 54%, to $13.6 million, while revenue rose by 15%, to $135.6 million.

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