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October 23, 2008: Golden Valley Resident Tony Lemaire to become Western Bank President & CEO

St. Paul, MN. (October 23, 2008). Western Bank recently announced 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 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, who lives in Golden Valley, joined Western Bank as a member of its management team in 2006. "Tony will make a phenomenal President & CEO,? said Erdall. "As a member of our management team, he has played an integral role in developing bank-wide strategies and policies; he is an expert in business banking.?

As current Senior Vice President, this business banking veteran was hired from Bremer Bank in 2006 and has successfully led the commercial banking group which is Western Bank's core business. Lemaire is also involved in the community and has served on the board as a member and past chair of Cornerstone Advocacy Services.

Beginning in January Lemaire will lead this high performing bank, which in the last 30 years has grown from approximately $22 million to more than $350 million in assets and from one to six locations today. "Tony has tons of leadership and business banking experience, lots of potential, and the full endorsement of the Board of Directors for his new role as President & CEO beginning in January,? said Julie Sands Causey, Western Bank Chairman. "I look forward to working with Tony, as well as the rest of the management team.?

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.

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