Its numbers are still a bit wanting, but Washington Federal Inc. is distinguishing itself from the pack of recession-hit also-rans in the beleaguered Pacific Northwest.

In its most recent quarter, the $12.6 billion-asset Seattle company nearly doubled its loan losses from the same period a year earlier, it said Tuesday. But analysts, looking ahead, note that the company is primed for a major growth spurt, with credit problems leveling off and a sizable war chest of capital at its fingertips. Washington Federal raised $333 million in capital in the latter part of 2009, a move observers considered likely to put it in a position to buy other banks.

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