Sterling Financial reports big losses for 2009

Writedowns on its loan portfolio resulted in large losses for Sterling Financial Corp. in the fourth quarter and all of 2009.

The Spokane bank reported a quarterly loss of $333.1 million, or $6.41 per common share, compared with $356.3 million, or $6.87 per share, for the last quarter of 2008.

For the year, Sterling lost $855.5 million, or $16.48 per share, compared with $336.7 million, or $6.51 per share, for 2008.

The bank set aside a $340.3 million allowance for loan losses in the fourth quarter, and $681.4 million for the year.

Assets decreased to $10.9 billion at year end, down from $12.8 billion a year ago.

Deposits fell to $7.8 billion from $8.4 billion, due in large part to a $400 million decline in brokered deposits.

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