Sterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STSA), whose principal operating subsidiary, Sterling Savings Bank, does business in California as Sonoma Bank and Borrego Springs Bank and outside of California as Sterling Bank, today announced that it is unifying its California banking operations under the new name Argent Bank. “I am excited to introduce Argent Bank to California,” said Greg Seibly, president and CEO of Sterling Financial. “ Argent Bank unifies our California banking operations under one brand, providing a cohesive identity for the bank to continue to grow and deepen its roots in California. Our recent acquisitions demonstrate that we are committed to California and are ready to build a strong franchise in the state. As our footprint now spans the state, it became more important to develop a consistent, long-term strategy that included a single name throughout California.” Sterling Financial chose the name Argent — which means “silver” in French — because it wanted a name that aligned with the bank’s identity. Argent Bank will share the same logo and the same purpose, promise, values and culture as the bank’s operations outside of California. Sonoma Bank and Borrego Springs Bank will transition to the Argent Bank name on Sept. 23, 2013. Commerce National Bank, which has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Sterling Financial, will transition to the Argent Bank name after the acquisition is completed, which is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2013. Sonoma Bank and Borrego Springs Bank customers will receive detailed communications regarding the transition to the Argent Bank name soon. Commerce National Bank customers will also receive detailed communications regarding the transition to the Argent Bank name early in the fourth quarter. The BankWithArgent.com website, which will share the same look and feel as the Sterling Bank website, is now live. California residents are invited to “like” Argent Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArgentBank or follow Argent Bank on Twitter @BankWithArgent. About Sterling Financial CorporationSterling Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:STSA) of Spokane, Washington, is the bank holding company for Sterling Savings Bank, a Washington state chartered and federally insured commercial bank. Sterling Savings Bank does business as Sterling Bank outside of California and as Sonoma Bank and Borrego Springs Bank in California prior to the adoption of the Argent Bank name. Sterling offers banking products and services, mortgage lending, and trust and investment products to individuals, small businesses, corporations and other commercial organizations. As of June 30, 2013, Sterling had assets of $9.94 billion and operated depository branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. Visit Sterling’s website at www.bankwithsterling.com.