A year and a half after completing its recapitalization, Sterling Financial Corp. in Spokane, Wash., has been released from an enforcement order with the Federal Reserve Board.

The Fed made the brief announcement on its web site on Thursday.

The agreement, which was initiated on Dec. 24, 2009, called for the then-struggling company to suspend the payment of all dividends and come up with a capital plan. At the time, the company's bank unit, Sterling Savings Bank, was undercapitalized and was dealing with a high level of nonperforming assets.

In August 2010, private-equity firms Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Warburg Pincus invested a combined $342 million in the company. Concurrently, Sterling raised an additional $388 million through a private placement.

The $9.2 billion-asset company has rebounded. In 2011, it reported earnings of $39.1 million, compared to a loss of $756 million in 2010.

Last week the company completed its acquisition of the healthy operations of the $797 million-asset First Independent Bank in Vancouver, Wash.

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