San Diego Business Journal

Washington Lender Set to Buy Sunrise Bank

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sunrise Bank, based in Point Loma and with $232 million in assets, said on June 9 that it agreed to be acquired by Spokane, Wash.-based AmericanWest Bank for $18.5 million in cash.

The transaction for the four-office Sunrise would give AmericanWest, with total assets of $1.6 billion, a foothold in California. It currently operates 58 offices in Washington, Idaho and Utah.

The deal still needs shareholder and regulatory approval.

Since early 2010, Sunrise Bank has been operating under a cease and desist order from bank regulators that required it to take a number of corrective steps to its operations including increasing its capital levels.

As of March 31, Sunrise was still below the 12 percent minimum ratio for total risk-based capital contained in the order.

For the first quarter, Sunrise reported a net profit of $542,000 compared with a net loss of $1.48 million for the like quarter of 2010. For all of last year, Sunrise reported a net loss of $10.3 million.

AmericanWest has been growing this year following the purchase of the bank in December out of bankruptcy, with a group headed by Scott Kristing initially raising $185 million in new capital as part of that arrangement.

Kristing said AmericanWest has deployed about $230 million from a capital trove of $750 million so far, but plans to expand some more.

“This is not our last acquisition in California,” he said. “If we can find more banks like Sunrise in California we’ll go after them aggressively.”

Last month, AmericanWest struck a deal to buy the Bank of the Northwest, with $146 million in assets. That bank is also majority owned by Capitol Bancorp, which has been selling off its subsidiary banks for past two years to increase its deficient capital levels and comply with regulatory orders.

Kristing said he intends to retain all four Sunrise offices, its management team led by CEO Scott Andrews, and its 59 employees.

— Mike Allen