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Press release from Business Wire

Sterling Bank Pledges to Columbia River Economic Development Council

Friday, September 07, 2012

Sterling Bank Pledges to Columbia River Economic Development Council20:30 EDT Friday, September 07, 2012 SPOKANE, Wash. (Business Wire) -- Sterling Bank, headquartered in Spokane, Wash., and a subsidiary of Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA), today announced a five-year pledge at the Chairman Circle level, totaling $125,000, to Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) based in Vancouver, Wash. “Sterling is committed to the mission of the CREDC,” said Ezra Eckhardt, president of Sterling Bank. “Our pledge will assist the CREDC in establishing concrete programs that make a meaningful difference to the social and economic vitality of the residents of Clark County.” The CREDC is a public/private partnership with more than 130 investors to assist business relocation and expansion in Clark County. Its mission is to promote job creation and investment while maintaining the region's high quality of life. The CREDC specializes in site location and acquisition, business data and demographics, and process facilitation. “As the largest community bank headquartered in Washington State, Sterling felt this opportunity aligned with its purpose to improve lives and strengthen communities,” said Marc Timm, commercial banking regional director. Timm represents Sterling Bank on the CREDC's board of directors. Sterling created the Sterling Advisory Board in Vancouver earlier this year. Led by Jeanne Firstenburg, Southwest Washington's market president and former First Independent President, this board was formed to engage local community leaders to gather ideas and develop a vision for the future. Sterling Bank announced plans to acquire Vancouver's First Independent Bank last November. The deal closed in February 2012. About Sterling Bank Sterling Savings Bank, the principal operating subsidiary of Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) of Spokane, Washington, is a Washington state chartered and federally insured commercial bank. Sterling Savings Bank does business as Sterling Bank and Sonoma Bank (in California). Sterling offers banking products and services, mortgage lending, and trust and investment products to individuals, small businesses, corporations and other commercial organizations. As of June 30, 2012, Sterling had assets of $9.6 billion and operated 187 depository branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California. Visit Sterling's website at Sterling BankInvestor contact:Patrick Rusnak, 509-227-0961patrick.rusnak@bankwithsterling.comorMedia contact:Cara L. Coon,