Sterling Bank Employees Top 50,000 Volunteer Hours in 2012

  Sterling Bank Employees Top 50,000 Volunteer Hours in 2012

        Nearly 2,000 Community Organizations Receive Hands-On Support

Business Wire

SPOKANE, Wash. -- January 22, 2013

Employees of Sterling Bank, a subsidiary of Sterling Financial Corporation
(NASDAQ:STSA), contributed 53,187 volunteer hours in 2012, assisting nearly
2,000 charitable organizations.

“At Sterling, we strive to be a bridge to the possible for our communities. I
am proud of our employees for taking the initiative to get out, volunteer and
better their neighborhoods,” said Ezra Eckhardt, president and chief operating
officer of Sterling Bank.

Of the total hours volunteered, approximately 13,000 were part of Sterling’s
employee volunteer time-off program that was implemented in 2012. Through the
program, Sterling provides employees with 12 paid hours per year to volunteer
during work hours with a nonprofit, school or public service organization of
their choice.

“The year 2012 was a record year for Sterling employee volunteerism. Our
employees’ generosity mirrors Sterling’s commitment to improve lives and
strengthen the communities we serve, a commitment that will only grow moving
forward,” continued Eckhardt.

More than 6,400 volunteer hours qualified as Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)
hours. The CRA provides a framework for financial, government and community
organizations to jointly promote fair banking services across all communities.
Qualifying CRA organizations focus on affordable housing, financial education
and/or financial services for low- to moderate-income populations. Other
qualifying activities include downtown revitalization efforts and
small-business support.

“Sterling’s employee volunteer program is just one of the valuable benefits in
working for the bank,” said Suzanne Craddock, a customer service
representative at Sterling’s Peterkort branch in Portland, Ore. “Not only do I
have the opportunity to help people achieve their financial goals while I’m at
work, I’m also able to spend time in my neighborhood school providing the
children and teachers with much needed daytime support.”

As determined by the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics rate, the estimated
dollar value of the total volunteer hours translates to just over $1.1
million. However, the impact on the communities is greater than the sum of the
volunteer hours and financial support that Sterling Bank and its employees
bring to its neighborhoods.

Beyond volunteering, Sterling Bank employees are also active in donating and
raising funds for community organizations. An example of this effort includes
employee donations of nearly $32,000 through Sterling’s Jeans for Charity
program to organizations including the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and the
Spokane Humane Society in Spokane, Wash., the Oregon Food Bank in Lake Oswego,
Ore., and the Children’s Center in Vancouver, Wash. This program allows
employees to make a financial donation in exchange for wearing jeans one
Friday per month. More information about Sterling Bank’s giving program is
available online at:

About Sterling Bank

Sterling Savings Bank, the principal operating subsidiary of Sterling
Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) of Spokane, Washington, is a Washington
state chartered and federally insured commercial bank. Sterling Savings Bank
does business as Sterling Bank and, in California, Sonoma Bank. Sterling
offers banking products and services, mortgage lending, and trust and
investment products to individuals, small businesses, corporations and other
commercial organizations. As of Sept. 30, 2012, Sterling had assets of $9.47
billion and operated depository branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and
California. Visit Sterling’s website at


Sterling Financial Corporation
Media Contact:
Cara L. Coon, 509-626-5348
Investor Contact:
Patrick Rusnak, 509-227-0961
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