Sterling Financial Announces Joint Venture with Landmark Abstract, Inc.

December 9, 2002

Full-Service Settlement Company to Offer Title and Lien Searches, Title Insurance, and More

LANCASTER, Pa., /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sterling Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: SLFI ) has entered into a joint venture with Landmark Abstract, Inc. to form a new full-service settlement company. The new company will provide title and lien searches, commercial and residential title insurance, notary and recording services to Sterling Financial Corporation's market area including Lancaster, Lebanon, York and Adams counties in Pennsylvania and Cecil and Carroll counties in Maryland.

"Landmark Abstract has built a first-class reputation in the settlement services industry," said J. Roger Moyer, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Sterling. "This joint venture supports Sterling's mission to offer diversified, high-quality financial services and advances a philosophy that both companies share to focus on community partnerships."

"Sterling Financial represents a commitment to exceptional customer service which reflects our values and makes the joint venture a natural fit," noted Paul H. Slaugh, Jr., President of Landmark. "This is a win-win for both organizations."

The full-service settlement company is pending regulatory approval. Upon receiving approval, the company will be located in Lancaster County and is expected to be operational during the first half of 2003.

Source: Sterling Financial Corporation

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North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) is a seasoned title insurance underwriter, helping title agents to achieve their individual business goals for more than 50 years. Today, the company conducts real estate settlement services in 39 states and the District of Columbia through a network of experienced, independent agents.