updated 4/7/2011 12:18:05 PM ET 2011-04-07T16:18:05

WALLA WALLA, Wash., April 7, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Banner Bank today announced that Anne Wuesthoff has been named Senior Vice President of Human Resources. In her position, Ms. Wuesthoff will be responsible for organizational development, rewards and benefits, diversity, recruitment and staffing, employee relations, talent management, employee and leadership development and learning programs. 

Ms. Wuesthoff has more than 25 years of human resources and organizational development experience in multiple industries and brings to Banner Bank significant experience in financial services. She was a senior vice president at Washington Mutual for eight years with responsibility for leading human resources for the retail, corporate and specialty finance business units. She also led the talent and organizational capability function, where she had responsibility for executive & corporate recruitment, executive development, enterprise-wide learning and training, organizational development, employee communications, and talent management and diversity programs. Ms. Wuesthoff began her career in human resources at the Quaker Oats Company at various manufacturing locations and at corporate headquarters. She has also served in various human resources positions at Allied Signal, now Honeywell, Inc., and at Casey Family Programs, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable families and children. Ms. Wuesthoff holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University.

"Having Anne join us is a real advantage," said Mark J. Grescovich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Banner Bank and its holding company, Banner Corporation.  "With her deep experience in HR and financial services, we are excited about the contributions she will make to our talent initiatives and to our team."

"I am excited to join Banner Bank's team of professionals that provides superior banking services throughout the Northwest and look forward to furthering the Bank's talent strategy," stated Anne Wuesthoff. 

Ms. Wuesthoff has made significant contributions to community service.  She has been a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through "Team in Training" cycling events, the country's largest charity sports-training program. She and her boxer dog, Jesse, are a pet therapy team certified through the Delta Association.  Ms. Wuesthoff is a member of the Pacific Northwest HR Association and has served on the University of Washington Executive Education Advisory Board and the boards of directors for the Boy and Girl Scouts and United Way. While at AlliedSignal, her team was honored with the Pacific Northwest Work/Family award.

About Banner Bank

Banner Bank is a Washington-chartered commercial bank that conducts business from 86 locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Banner Bank is a super-community bank which offers a wide variety of commercial banking services and financial products to individuals and small and medium-sized businesses and their employees in its primary market area. Visit Banner Bank on the Web at www.BannerBank.com .

About Banner Corporation

Banner Corporation (Nasdaq:BANR), the parent company of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, is a $4.4 billion bank holding company operating two commercial banks in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The banks serve the Pacific Northwest region with a full range of deposit services and business, commercial real estate, construction, residential, agricultural and consumer loans.

CONTACT: Mark J. Grescovich,
         President & CEO
         Lloyd W. Baker, CFO
         (509) 527-3636

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