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Sterling stock rockets

Fri., April 23, 2010, 3:21 p.m.

Shares of Sterling Financial Corp. climbed more than 65 percent today on trading volume 15 times normal.

The stock, which closed at 87 cents Thursday, finished the Friday trading day at $1.45, and advanced another seven cents in after-hours trading.

The 16.2 million shares traded represent almost one-third of the 50.2 million Sterling shares outstanding.

Sterling spokeswoman Cara Coon said the company would not comment on the trading activity.

Banking regulators have ordered Sterling to raise $650 million in additional capital to help reinforce a balance sheet shredded by heavy losses in contruction and real estate loans.

That effort is progressing, Coon said.

In a separate development, Sterling was ranked first among Northwest banks for customer satisfaction in a survey of 1,903 consumers by J.D. Power and Associates.

Read more background on Sterling Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, Sterling Savings Bank.

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