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Judge approves AmericanWest sale

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Patricia Williams today authorized the sale of AmericanWest Bank to a holding company that will inject as much as $200 million in new capital into the Spokane-based institution.

The $6.5 million deal between AmericanWest Bancorporation and SKBHC Holdings LLC is expected to close by the end of the year.

SKBHC executives who attended the hearing in Williams' court said they could not comment on their plans for AmericanWest until the transaction is completed, but praised Chief Executive Officer Pat Rusnak, other senior managers and the board of directors for their determination and "courage" preserving a bank that was nearly out of capital.

AmericanWest operates 58 branches in Washington, Idaho and Utah, and employs 160 in Spokane.

"This is terrific news," Rusnak said. "Our employees are excited and ready to move the bank forward."

"We have been interested in the bank because of its mix of dedicated employees, loyal customers and attractive communities," said SKBHC Chairman Scott Kisting. "Together with those employees, we are about to begin a new chaper in the banks's life.

"We are very proud to be a part of it."

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Bert Caldwell
Bert Caldwell oversees production of the opinion pages, including writing editorials, and editing and selecting letters, columns and cartoons.





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