Honestly I’d totally have the banner moved to a shield slot to allow the the bannerman a close-quarters weapon just because I like the visual of a sword wielding banner-man. However apparently they considered making it a shield-slot item, but they thought it would render your man more useless than a slightly nerfed two-tile weapon. Which makes sense since you’ll want to keep your banner-man safe, which isn’t within range of most weapons.
Buffing the banners to be equivalent or superior to the pike/bill-hook might work, but it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense given we’re talking about a pike weighed down with fabric, struts and misc, so I’m not sure I like it. And having mad status effects on troops is a bit too towards the magical side of things for me, a little placebo effect keeps it a little more grounded in the low-fantasy imo.
Personally i think many players would like the option of a slightly bigger party, especially in late game when you face far larger ork warbands. Most of the balance is in you deciding what you can and can’t take on, and if it does effect the balance then adjustments can be made to enemy squad sizes.
To keep it significant, but not overpowering, early game I’d limit fieldable troops to say 10, and with the banner add +3-4 troops, it removes a lot of complaints about the banner’s utility verses having an extra dmg-dealer by offering a man to fight in the bannerman’s stead + extra.
I like your thoughts and these are just my thoughts, having the lack of a banner cap your troop count might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it might be good to have it be useful in a way that doesn’t have it act as an enchanted pike.