Sterling Financial Corp., Spokane, Wash., has a deal to buy Big Sky Bancorp, Hamilton, Mont., for $12.7 million of stock.

The deal would boost $1.9 billion-asset Sterling's presence in Montana, where it does business through its leasing and mortgage subsidiaries but currently has no bank. Big Sky, the holding company of $62 million-asset First Federal Savings and Loan Association, has two branches in western Montana.

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