TRUCKEE RIVER, Calif. -- Sierra Tahoe Bancorp is expanding north with the opening of a mortgage lending office in Bellevue, Wash.

"The office in Bellevue was previously operated by a large mortgage banking company," said William T. Fike, president and chief executive officer. "Its employees know the local market and have established connections with the broker community in the area. The office is now a part of our Sierra Tahoe Mortgage Co. subsidiary and is licensed for wholesale and retail mortgage lending.

Mr. Pike said the unit would conduct business under the name Truckee River Mortgage Group.

"Bellevue is a rapidly growing area with an improving economy, and we believe there are opportunities to expand into other businesses there," he said.

Sierra Tahoe is also planning to open a SBA loan office in Orange County, Calif.

The move into Southern California also represents a geographic expansion for the institution. It had been servicing loans in the area that it bought from the Resolution Trust Corp.

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