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Press release from Business Wire

Sterling Financial Corporation Announces Dismissal of Class Action Lawsuits Regarding Overdraft Fees

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sterling Financial Corporation Announces Dismissal of Class Action Lawsuits Regarding Overdraft Fees16:30 EDT Tuesday, October 16, 2012 SPOKANE, Wash. (Business Wire) -- Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STSA) today announced that recently filed lawsuits alleging that Sterling's subsidiary Sterling Savings Bank (“Sterling Bank”) improperly manipulated the posting order of debit card transactions to generate a greater number of overdraft fees have been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs. The two lawsuits, one in Washington state court and one in Oregon federal court, were brought as putative class actions, with the plaintiffs seeking to represent checking account customers of Sterling Bank in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana. After investigation into Sterling Bank's practices with regard to debit card transactions and overdraft fees, the plaintiffs agreed voluntarily to dismiss their claims without any payments by Sterling Bank. The outcomes of these two cases stand in contrast to similar lawsuits brought against many other banks, some of which have recently paid large settlements to resolve accusations that they improperly posted debit card transactions high-to-low by amount (rather than chronologically), thereby increasing the number of overdraft fees charged on a given day. Commenting on the dismissal of these class action lawsuits, Ezra Eckhardt, Sterling Bank's President, said, “We are pleased with this outcome. The results in these cases reflect the fact that Sterling did not manipulate its electronic posting sequence and processed electronic debit card transactions in the order received.” Andrew Schultheis, Sterling's Executive Vice President and General Counsel, concurred, “We strongly believed from the outset that these cases had no merit, and we were prepared to vigorously defend them.” About Sterling Financial Corporation Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) of Spokane, Wash., is the bank holding company for Sterling Savings Bank, 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 http://www.sterlingfinancialcorporation.com. Sterling Financial CorporationMedia contact:Cara Coon, 509-626-5348cara.coon@bankwithsterling.comorInvestor contact:Patrick Rusnak, 509-227-0961