SANTA ROSA -- Sonoma Bank announced it is opening home mortgage lending centers that will be overseen by Robb Kenyon, who will serve as regional director for parent company Sterling Financial Corporation.

Mr. Kenyon, a California native with more than 20 years of experience in mortgage lending, comes to Sonoma from Seattle Mortgage, where he was vice president of residential lending. He also served as divisional builder manager with Bank of America.

Among Mr. Kenyon’s first responsibilities will be the hiring of branch managers, loan officers and processors to fill the positions available at the Sonoma Bank Home Loan Division.

Sonoma Bank is part of Sterling Savings Bank, a subsidiary of Sterling Financial Coporation (NASDAQ:STSA) headquartered in Spokane, Wash. Sterling Savings Bank does business in California under the Sonoma Bank name with 14 branches in and around the Bay Area.

“Robb will provide great leadership and direction as the company works toward its goal of becoming one of America’s truly great banks,” said Sterling Home Loan Division Executive Vice President Donn Costa. “We intend to work with existing bank branches to support their customers’ home lending needs, in addition to having stand-alone production locations.”

Sonoma’s home lending division will offer what Mr. Costa describes as a wide range of conforming portfolio and jumbo loans to customers.

Sterling Savings Bank has 178 branches and more than 30 home lending offices throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and now California.

As of last year, Sterling Financial Corporation had assets of $9.49 billion and operated 178 depository branches throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California.