Two Eastern WA Banks Receive $400 Million from U.S. Government - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Two Eastern WA Banks Receive $400 Million from U.S. Government

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TRI-CITIES, Wash-- Two regional banks received more than $400-million in government money. Leaders from Banner Bank and Sterling Savings Bank say it's not bailout money, it's a loan and they have to pay it back with interest.

Banner and Sterling Savings Bank both received money from the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Program (TARP). Sterling was given $303 million and Banner received $124 million.

The president of Sterling wants to remind people that their bank is not on Wall Street, it's on Main Street and this money is a loan they have to pay back.

Banner Bank had $78 million in net losses last year. Both of these banks say it's the sub-prime crisis and residential construction loans that caused them to be in this situation

"We're committed to do the things we need to do to restore our financial house to order and get to a situation where we're making money again and serving our shareholders," said Greg Seibly, President of Sterling Savings Bank.

"We have been able to deploy our assets and able to support our communities by continuing to be a lender and provide depository products that our communities are looking for," said Doug Bayne, VP of Marketing at Banner Bank.

Both banks say they will use the money to make more small business loans and single-family mortgages. They say this loan from the government is a great way to improve the economy and the credit market.