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Sterling Financial Corporation Of Spokane, Wash., Reports Third Quarter 2013 Earnings And Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) ("Sterling") today announced its operating results for the quarter ended September 30, 2013. Sterling recorded net income of $21.0 million, or $0.33 per diluted common share, compared to $27.8 million, or $0.44 per diluted common share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2013, and $30.6 million, or $0.49 per diluted common share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2012.

Following are selected financial highlights for the third quarter of 2013:
  • Gross loans expanded by 9 percent (annualized).
  • Deposits expanded by 14 percent (annualized).
  • Loan delinquency ratio (60 days and over) was 0.73 percent, down from 0.92 percent for the prior quarter.
  • A special dividend of $0.35 per share was paid on July 12, 2013, and a quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 per share was paid on August 20, 2013.
  • Sterling announced that it will merge with Umpqua Holdings Corporation, creating the largest community bank on the West Coast.

"Our third quarter operating results reflect a substantial reduction in mortgage banking activity and elevated merger-related expenses," said Greg Seibly, Sterling's president and chief executive officer. "With the exception of these two items, our core banking performance was solid. We continued to expand loans, reduce funding costs and improve asset quality metrics."

Operating Results

Net Interest Income

Sterling reported net interest income of $82.5 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2013, compared to $80.4 million for the prior quarter and $75.3 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2012. The net interest margin (tax equivalent) for the third quarter of 2013 was 3.59 percent, a decrease of 11 basis points from the prior quarter, and an increase of 16 basis points from the third quarter of 2012. The decrease in net interest margin from the prior quarter was a result of lower yields on loans.
      Three Months Ended
September 30,     June 30,     September 30,
2013 2013 2012
(in thousands)
Net interest income $ 82,548 $ 80,414 $ 75,308
Net interest margin (tax equivalent) 3.59 % 3.70 % 3.43 %
Loan yield 4.63 % 4.76 % 5.15 %
Funding costs:
Cost of deposits 0.35 % 0.37 % 0.53 %
Total funding liabilities 0.64 % 0.67 % 1.01 %

Total interest income was $96.4 million for the third quarter of 2013, compared to $94.0 million for the prior quarter, and $96.0 million for the same period a year ago. The $2.4 million increase in interest income over the prior quarter was primarily due to higher average loan balances, which were up $307.8 million, or 4 percent. The yield on loans was 4.63 percent for the third quarter of 2013, compared to 4.76 percent for the prior quarter, and 5.15 percent for the third quarter of 2012.

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