Golf Savings Bank Merges with Sterling Savings Bank

I just received this email from one of my students, a Golf Savings employee:

There have been some exciting changes at Golf Savings Bank. I wanted to take a few moments and give you a brief update on what those changes are and what will be happening over the next few months.
On August 1, 2010, Golf Savings Bank merged with and into Sterling Savings Bank, although we have been sister companies for the last several years. I am excited about this change. We now have access to over 170 bank locations throughout the Northwest, in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California including our existing bank office located in Mountlake Terrace.
So who is Sterling Savings Bank? Sterling is one of the largest regional community banks in the western United States, headquartered in Spokane. Since opening its doors in 1983, the bank has grown to over $10 billion in assets and has over 2,400 employees. Sterling offers a wide array of products and services for personal and business customers.
So what’s next? There will be a number of changes occurring over the coming months. On or about September 1, 2010 you will begin to see our signs changing over to the Sterling Savings Bank name.  You may see information from both Sterling and Golf during this time as we work through the transition.
While we have a new name, you will continue to see the same great people you have become used to working with at Golf Savings Bank.

Jillayne here. I’m not so sure “sister companies” is accurate. I always thought Sterling was the parent and Golf, it’s adopted child.  Here’s a link to the Golf press release.

Many people in the mortgage lending industry in the greater Seattle area are familiar with Golf, which started as Lynnwood Mortgage Company with a strong foothold in South Snohomish County and added depository banking later.  This merge seems to be more about helping Sterling raise capital. It sounds like Sterling is 90 percent to its goal of raising needed capital.

Warburg Pincus and THL agreed in May to invest a combined $278 million, for a roughly 40% stake in the bank, bringing the total amount of capital to be raised to at least $720 million. Sterling spokeswoman Cara Coon declined to comment, citing the quiet period around the placement. The company said in its second-quarter earnings release that the “recapitalization process has been challenging and complex.”

“Although there can be no assurance of success, we are leveraging our resources in an effort to bring the recapitalization to a successful conclusion,” it said.  The company posted a net loss of $53.8 million, or $1.12 a share, in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $29.5 million, or 65 cents a share, in the 2009 quarter.

“We sold a significant number of nonperforming loans as we worked to rebuild and strengthen our balance sheet,” Sterling said.

Golf seems to be doing great on the retail origination side, having recruited many loan origination teams from competitors over the past 18 months.  It will be interesting to see how the two companies merge management teams along with balancing new investor oversights, while keeping the very productive Golf retail origination folks and their customers, Realtors, and builders happy.

Congratulations, Golf and Sterling.  Let’s hope this merger results in a stronger, financially healthy regional bank and mortgage bank.

2 thoughts on “Golf Savings Bank Merges with Sterling Savings Bank

  1. Thanks for the info. It seems a bit depressing that another small bank is being consumed by a larger. Business wise it does make sense though. Thanks again for the post.

  2. Jillayne, I thought the phrase “sister company” was interesting too…why would they phrase their relationship that way? The only thing I can think of is that they’re trying to make Golf and Sterling sound like equals which is an interesting concept when (I believe) Sterling is on FDIC’s “watch list”.

Leave a Reply