Spokane Journal of Business

Sterling plans Coeur d’Alene branch

Bank will continue to look for expansion opportunities

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Sterling Savings Bank, of Spokane, has bought a building at the southeast corner of 11th Street and Sherman Avenue in Coeur dAlene and plans to open a bank branch there early next month.

The Coeur dAlene branch will be Sterlings 34th new branch so far this year, including 33 that it has added through an acquisition, and will give the Spokane bank 74 branches overall in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The bank also plans to add three more to that number this fall, when it completes its planned acquisition of a Montana financial institution that will enable Sterling to enter its fourth state.

Sterling also plans to look for other expansion opportunities throughout the region, says Harold Gilkey, chairman and CEO of Sterling Financial Corp., the parent of Sterling Savings Bank, which formerly was known as Sterling Savings Association.

Gilkey says Sterling decided to open a full-service branch in Coeur dAlene partly to serve loan customers it has there better. It has obtained those customers during the past decade through its main branch in Spokane and the activities of its subsidiaries, Action Mortgage Co., which provides residential and construction loans, and Intervest-Mortgage Investment Co., which provides multifamily and commercial real estate loans.

Sterling has hired eight people to work at the new branch, including Dave Holinka, who will serve as branch manager. The 6,000-square-foot building, which the bank bought for about $400,000, formerly housed a U.S. Bank branch, which closed in February.

The Coeur dAlene branch will be Sterlings 11th in North Idaho. Sterling acquired its other 10 North Idaho branches last month when it completed an acquisition of 33 KeyBank branches throughout Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

Twenty-one of those branches are in Washington, where Sterling already operated 38 branches, and two are in Oregon, where Sterling now has five branches.

All of those branches now operate under the Sterling name. In Montesano, Wash., a Sterling branch and a newly acquired KeyBank branch were consolidated into one because the two buildings were located within blocks of one another, Gilkey says.

Meanwhile, Sterling is awaiting regulatory and stockholder approval of its plans to acquire Big Sky Bancorp. Inc., and its subsidiary, First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Montana. That acquisition, which is expected to be completed by early October, will include a branch in Hamilton, Mont., and two branches in Missoula, Mont.

Once those branches have been absorbed into Sterlings system, Gilkey says that the bank will look for further expansion opportunities in its four-state region. He says that theres always a need for fill-in branchesespecially in Idaho, Oregon, and Montana, where the bank has a limited number of branches.

  • Lisa Harrell

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