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October 14, 2008: Western Bank President & CEO Steve Erdall to Retire

After 30 years of dedicated service, leaving bank in strong financial condition

St. Paul, MN. (October 14, 2008). Western Bank announced today its current President & CEO, Steve Erdall, will retire on December 31, 2008 after 30 years of dedicated service and significant contributions to the organization. Erdall is leaving Western Bank in strong financial condition with an outstanding Community Reinvestment Rating. Despite recent turmoil in the financial industry, Western Bank is high performing, profitable, and is highly capitalized. See our key financials included in a link at the end of this press release.

Erdall will remain on the Western Bank Board of Directors including chairing the loan committee, and will help transition the organization’s new President & CEO, Tony Lemaire, when he steps into the role in January. Lemaire joined Western Bank as a member of its management team in 2006. As current Senior Vice President, he is a veteran in business banking. He has successfully led the commercial banking group which is Western Bank’s core business.

Erdall had a personal goal to retire in his mid 50s, and at age 56 it is believed he is one of the youngest bank CEOs to retire after more than 20 years as CEO. “Steve has achieved many accomplishments during his tenure at Western Bank. In the 30 years that Steve has worked at Western Bank, he has helped the Sands family grow this high performing bank from approximately $22 million to more than $350 million in assets and from one to six locations today,” said Julie Sands Causey, Western Bank Chairman, “In addition, with Steve’s help, we have dedicated resources, time and talent via contributions, volunteerism, loans and job creation to spur on economic development in our communities.” Erdall has also been heavily involved in the community personally, most recently serving on the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Board and the Minnesota Bankers Association Board.

In anticipation of these expected changes the third generation of the Sands family, Julie Sands Causey, and other members of management have been groomed over several years to provide continuity in leadership. Causey has been Western Bank’s Chairman since 2004 and on Western Bank’s Board since 1999. As Chairman, she will chair the board and lead the management team of the bank. “Julie possesses the solid values that Western is built on; she is highly involved in community work and she brings a wealth of business and economic experience with her,” said Bill Sands, Chairman of Western Bancshares (the Western Bank holding company).

Causey’s and Lemaire’s leadership as Chairman and President & CEO respectively, will usher in a new era of fresh ideas and innovative opportunities while continuing to nurture the legacy Erdall and the Sands family have built for the organization. They look forward to building on a team of talented employees. Given Western Bank’s strong financial and capital position, the bank is committed to meeting lending and deposit needs of customers in this marketplace.

About Western Bank
Founded in 1915, Western Bank is an independent, community bank dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of businesses and offering a full range of services to all of our customers. The bank has six geographically dispersed locations serving customers throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The corporate office still serves the original St. Paul, Minnesota neighborhood in which it started, with other offices in Edina, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Mounds View, and Oakdale. Western Bank has assets of $350 million and provides a full line of banking services to businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals. Western Bank is focused on meeting the needs of customers, facilitating economic development in our communities, returning a reasonable profit to shareholders, and caring for its employees. Visit www.western-bank.com for more information.

Western Bank’s Financial Health

Despite recent turmoil in the financial industry, Western Bank is in strong financial condition.

Western Bank is profitable, has good loan quality and excess equity capital. We continue to be enthusiastic about holding deposits and lending to our customers. Financial health will continue to be a strength of Western Bank and the businesses, non-profits and individuals with whom we work.

The link below contains some key financial indicators comparing Western Bank to a peer group of twin cities banks. Western Bank ranks well and is very safe and healthy.

http://www.western-bank.com/rankandstatReport.pdf


Information Regarding Forward Looking Statements:
This press release contains forward-looking statements. The statements regarding Western Bank contained in this release that are not historical in nature, particularly those that utilize terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "likely," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "believes" or "plans," or comparable terminology, are forward-looking statements based on current expectations and assumptions, and entail various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. Western Bank undertakes no obligation to correct or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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