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STERLING FINANCIAL CORPORATION UNIFIES CALIFORNIA BANKING OPERATIONS UNDER ARGENT BANK BRAND

Spokane, Wash. – Aug. 12, 2013 – 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.

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