Sterling Bank in Spokane, Wash. will allow customers to transfer money to and from accounts at other financial institutions for free.

The $9.4 billion-asset bank announced plans to launch the transfer service Tuesday.

"With the existing ability to view external account balances and transactions plus the added ability to transfer funds with external accounts, Sterling Bank's online banking becomes a powerful financial tool rarely found in other community banks in our market," said Patricia Baughman, Sterling's director of corporate product management and market research.

Sterling is owned by Sterling Financial Corp. (STSA). It has 173 branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.

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