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Sterling narrows losses

Sterling Financial Corp. today reported a second-quarter loss of $58.2 million, including a $70.8 million allowance for credit losses.

A year ago, the Spokane bank reported a net loss of $33.9 million after a $79.7 million allowance for credit losses. Per share, the 2010 quarter loss was $1.12, compared with 65 cents for the 2009 quarter.

But Chief Executive Officer Greg Seibly said the 2Q numbers were an improvement compared with the first quarter, and there were other positive indicators for Sterling (STSA), which has been trying since last fall to raise additional capital.

Non-performing loans declined 8 percent compared with the first quarter, to $884.1 million, and loan origination increased 25 percent.

Retail deposits climbed but the total fell, to $7.2 billion, as Sterling continued to reduce its dependence on brokered deposits. The number of accounts increased.

Total assets, at $9.7 billion, have fallen 21 percent since June 30, 2009.




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