A $190 million-asset Missouri bank converted to a thrift charter this month as part of a plan to expand into Arizona and Nevada early next year.

Sugar Creek-based American Sterling Bank, which had a national bank charter before converting on Dec. 2, said it plans to open a branch in Phoenix by mid-January and another in Las Vegas in the second quarter.

American Sterling president and chief executive officer Rob Boland said converting to a thrift made opening branches outside its home state easier and less expensive. Otherwise it would have had to get bank charters in Nevada and Arizona.

- Craig Woker

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