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STERLING FINANCIAL CORP. ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER NET INCOME

 SPOKANE, Wash., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Sterling Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: STSA) today announced net income of $2,068,000, or 51 cents per share, for the first quarter ended Sept. 30. This represents a 15 percent increase in net income over the prior year's comparable quarter when net income was $1,801,000, or 45 cents per share.
 "We are very pleased with our first quarter results," said Harold B. Gilkey, chairman of the board and chief executive officer. "These strong earnings are reflective of increased net interest income and an increase in total assets," Gilkey said.
 Net interest income of $7.4 million in the first quarter ended Sept. 30, reflects an increase of 38 percent compared to $5.2 million for the prior year's comparable period. Net interest income was enhanced primarily by an increase in the volume of earnings assets and a decline in Sterling's cost of deposits and borrowings.
 Residential loan production for the first quarter ended Sept. 30, was $131.4 million, compared to $137.8 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 1992, reflecting a slight reduction in the level of refinance activity.
 Total assets increased to $1.060 billion at Sept. 30, compared to $1.039 billion at June 30. Total deposits were $581.0 million at Sept. 30, compared to $580.0 million at June 30.
 The levels of Sterling's nonperforming assets and of delinquent loans were virtually unchanged during the quarter. At Sept. 30, nonperforming assets were $12.6 million, compared to $12.3 million at June 30. Delinquent loans as a percentage of total loans receivable declined to 0.88 percent at Sept. 30, from 0.93 percent at June 30.
 During the quarter, Sterling continued to expand its capital resources as shareholders' equity increased to $49.7 million, or 4.7 percent of assets. Equity increased due to earnings and the exercise of approximately 55,000 warrants for common stock.
 During the quarter, Sterling purchased six branches in western Washington from Key Bank of Washington. Three of these branches were opened during the quarter. "By increasing our branch network, we are affirming our commitment to further expansion within Washington State," Gilkey stated.
 Sterling Financial Corp. of Spokane, is a savings and loan holding company which owns Sterling Savings Association. Sterling Savings Association is a Washington State-chartered, federally-insured stock savings association which opened in April 1983. Sterling Savings Association, based in Spokane, has 34 branches throughout the state of Washington and, through its wholly owned subsidiary Action Mortgage Co., operates loan production offices in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
 NOTE: Sterling's Selected Financial Information will be available Oct. 19.
 -0- 10/4/93
 /CONTACT: Heidi B. Stanley of Sterling Savings, 509-458-2711/
 (STSA)


CO: Sterling Savings ST: Washington IN: FIN SU:

RB-IC -- SE011 -- 8518 10/04/93 16:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 4, 1993
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