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Washington state banks will merge

Walla Walla-based Banner Corporation has agreed to acquire Skagit Bancorp, Burlington, in an all-stock transaction worth $191 million.

Washington’s Skagit Bank is a 60-year-old community bank based in the North Sound region of the Pacific Northwest focused on developing and serving long term consumer and business clients.  At June 30, Skagit Bank had assets of $922 million, a diverse and high-quality loan portfolio of $599 million, and a low-cost deposit base of $811 million with 12 banking locations along the I-5 corridor from Seattle to the Canadian border.

After close of the merger, expected in the fourth quarter, Skagit CEO Cheryl R. Bishop will join Banner’s board. The combined company will have approximately $11.4 billion in assets. Skagit Bank will merge into Banner’s subsidiary $10 billion Banner Bank.

“We are thrilled to have Skagit Bank and its employees join the Banner Bank team and are looking forward to having Cheryl join the board,” stated Mark Grescovich, president and CEO of the $10.4 billion Banner.  “This transaction expands Banner’s presence and density in the attractive Seattle and I-5 corridor markets and represents a complementary fit, both strategically and culturally, with Banner’s business model.”

Banner was advised by D.A. Davidson & Co., as financial advisor, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, as legal counsel.  Skagit was advised by Sandler O’Neill & Partners, L.P., as financial advisor, and Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP, as legal counsel.

Banner also holds the $279 million Islanders Bank, Friday Harbor, Wash.