Sterling Financial Corp. (STSA), the holding company of banking and mortgage lender Sterling Savings, has appointed Patrick Rusnak as chief financial officer. Rusnak will serve as acting CFO while a regulatory panel reviews his appointment to the top financial post within the Spokane, Wash.-based regional banking firm. Rusnak, the former CEO of AmericanWest Bank, is replacing Daniel Byrne who is transitioning into the role of corporate development executive. Prior to his departure from AmericanWest, Rusnak oversaw a 30-month capital raise campaign for the bank, which ended in December. Sterling completed its own $730 million in equity capital raise in August, converting U.S. Treasury preferred stock to common stock and finalizing the merger of Sterling Savings Bank and Golf Savings Bank. The capital raise was part of the bank's initiative to implement recovery plans, according to financial filings. A month after the initiative was completed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions removed a "cease and desist" order that had been filed against Sterling, according to the company's fourth-quarter earnings report. Sterling Financial Corp. narrowed its fourth-quarter loss to $38.1 million from a loss of $328.7 million a year earlier. The company's recent fourth-quarter results include a writedown on a $30 million credit loss, a substantial improvement from its $340.3 million-credit loss in the fourth-quarter of 2009. For 2010, Sterling narrowed its loss to $224.3 million from a loss of $838.1 million in 2009. Prior to his two-year run as AmericanWest's CEO,Rusnak served AmericanWest as chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Write to Kerri Panchuk.