Sterling Financial Corp. swung to a fourth quarter 2011 profit of $14.8 million from a $642.7 million loss for the same period in 2010.

Sterling Financial Corp. swung to a fourth quarter 2011 profit of $14.8 million from a $642.7 million loss for the same period in 2010.

The Spokane-based parent company of Sterling Savings Bank, which operates branches in Ashland, Central Point, Jacksonville and Medford, turned a $39.1 million profit in 2011, bouncing back from write-off filled 2010 when it lost $756.1 million.

Sterling has now strung together four consecutive quarters of earnings growth. It has also decreased its deposit costs, while reducing its nonperforming assets 55 percent to $447.2 million.

— Greg Stiles