PremierWest Bancorp (PRWT) of Medford, Ore., will lay off staff in support areas and not fill vacant positions as it continues to implement cost-cutting measures.

The $1.3 billion-asset company previously said that it will close nine branches and sell two others. The "restructuring of staff and processes" will result in annualized savings of roughly $2.5 million, the company said Monday. The previously announced changes to the branch network will save the company roughly $1.9 million annually.

Ken Wells, PremierWest's chief marketing officer, declined Monday to disclosed the number of positions being eliminated but said the changes will occur this quarter. Even though its branch network has decreased, PremierWest hadn't previously addressed the size of its operational staff, Wells said.

"It's just natural as we get smaller," he said. "We have to think about streamlining things."

Like other banks in the hard hit Pacific Northwest region, PremierWest has struggled with souring commercial real estate loans. It last turned a profit in 2007 and reported a $17.4 million loss for 2011. At Dec. 31, its noncurrent loans totaled 9.55%, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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