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Originally published Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM

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Sterling’s earnings climb

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The Spokane parent company of Sterling Savings Bank reported fourth-quarter net income of $20.9 million, or 33 cents a share, up from $14.8 million, or 24 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Sterling Financial said it originated $561.7 million in new loans in the fourth quarter, 62 percent more than in the same period a year ago.

It also booked a net gain of $8.4 million from selling its Montana branches. The company’s nonperforming assets fell to 2.28 percent of total assets, down from 4 percent a year ago.

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