Sterling Savings Bank Reports 2011 Employee Volunteer Hours

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Employees contribute nearly 44,000 hours

As a community bank, we believe we have a responsibility to improve lives, strengthen communities and serve as a bridge to the possible, not only for our customers, but also for the communities we live in and serve.

Employees of Sterling Savings Bank, a subsidiary of Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STSA) volunteered more than 43,900 hours of their time to hundreds of different charitable organizations during 2011, reflecting the bank’s commitment to improving lives and strengthening the communities it serves.

More than 3,565 of those hours qualified as Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) hours. Qualifying CRA organizations focus on affordable housing, financial education and/or financial services for low- to moderate-income populations. Other qualifying activities include downtown revitalization and small-business support.

As determined by the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics rate, the estimated dollar value of the total volunteer hours equates to more than a $922,000 in-kind fiscal impact, in addition to the financial support Sterling provides in the areas of arts and culture, health and wellness, civic and community, education and charitable organizations.

Throughout the year, employees also have donated more than $26,000 through Sterling’s jeans for charity program, in which employees contribute money to wear jeans one Friday per month. Charities that have benefited over the past year from the program include the Oregon Food Bank in Lake Oswego, Ore., Youth Homes of the Bitterroot in Hamilton, Mont., Hospice of Spokane, Northwest Harvest in the Seattle area and several other local and regional food banks across Sterling’s five-state footprint.

“These numbers validate what I have always known – Sterling has great employees who are engaged in and actively serving their communities,” said Ezra Eckhardt, president and chief operating officer of Sterling Savings Bank. “As a community bank, we believe we have a responsibility to improve lives, strengthen communities and serve as a bridge to the possible, not only for our customers, but also for the communities we live in and serve.”

Sterling is the largest commercial bank headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. It has nearly 2,600 employees and 175 branches throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and California.

About Sterling Financial Corporation

Sterling Financial Corporation of Spokane, Wash., is the bank holding company for Sterling Savings Bank, a state-chartered and federally insured commercial bank. Sterling offers banking products and services, mortgage lending, and investment products to individuals, small businesses, commercial organizations and corporations. As of Dec. 31, 2011, Sterling Financial Corporation had assets of $9.19 billion and operated 175 depository branches throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California. Visit Sterling’s website at http://www.sterlingfinancialcorporation-spokane.com.

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Cara Coon
Sterling Savings Bank
509-626-5348
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