Thomson Financial Bankwatch assigns debt ratings to InterWest Bancorp, Inc.

The ratings are: InterWest Bancorp, Inc. (Oak Harbor, Washington) and InterWest Bank: Short-Term Debt Rating Assigned TBW-2 InterWest Capital Trust I: Preferred Stock Rating Assigned BBB- Oak Harbor, Washington -based InterWest Bancorp is a $2.6 billion in assets, multi-bank holding company. Through its banking subsidiaries, the company operates 56 branch offices in Washington state. InterWest Bancorp is transitioning from its thrift roots to become a more commercial banking-oriented community bank. To help it achieve these goals InterWest Bancorp has been an active acquirer of community banks with its first acquisition completed in August 1996. While InterWest Bancorp still has a large percentage of assets invested in residential mortgage loans, this type of loan is a declining part of the company’s balance sheet. Management expects this process to accelerate over the next year as commercial loans continue to grow, completing InterWest Bancorp’s transformation to a commercial bank. InterWest Bancorp continues to show solid asset quality with manageable levels of NPAs and very low NCOs. However, reserve levels have not kept pace with loan growth and remain at thrift-like levels. Capital levels are sound. The company has issued $40.0 million of 9.875% trust preferred securities. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes which may include a stock buyback and capital contributions to banking subsidiaries.


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