First Western Acquires Los Angeles Investment Advisor Ryder, Stilwell, Inc.

Denver Firm Expands Its Presence in California With Purchase of Boutique Money Manager

DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - November 12, 2008) - First Western Financial's wholly owned investment advisor has acquired Los Angeles-based investment management firm Ryder, Stilwell Incorporated and its wholly owned subsidiary Ryder, Stilwell Investment Advisors ("Ryder, Stilwell").

Ryder, Stilwell is a registered investment advisor devoted to the planning and management of client assets and investments. The firm's 11 associates are currently responsible for approximately $110 million in assets under management.

"Acquiring a high-quality firm like Ryder, Stilwell is a logical extension of our long-term business strategy, which is to be the best private bank in the West," said Scott Wylie, First Western Chairman and CEO. "The firm's long-range perspective and emphasis on value are perfect complements to First Western's investment philosophy."

Ryder, Stilwell's predecessor firm was founded in 1948. The company's investment capabilities and scope were broadened in the early 1960s through the development of a cash management system that provided the benefits of a money market account within their private banking services. This service was created well before it was offered to the general public by larger financial institutions.

"We're excited about the opportunity to provide for the particular needs of our clients as part of the First Western enterprise," said Jim Considine, President and CEO of Ryder, Stilwell. "Most of our clients have been with us for years, and with the infrastructure and resources of First Western behind us, we can focus on delivering simple, consistent solutions to complex, long-term financial problems to them for years to come."

"In our discussions with Jim and the Ryder, Stilwell team, we quickly realized we had similar attitudes toward wealth management and client service," said Warren Olsen, Vice Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of First Western. "This is a natural partnership on several levels."

For First Western, the addition of Ryder, Stilwell represents an opportunity to extend its investment management and wealth planning services to California's affluent investors. The acquisition follows the company's purchase in June of Financial Management Advisors, LLC ("FMA"), a Los Angeles-based independent registered investment advisor.

Since its founding in 2002, First Western has successfully integrated a number of wealth managers into its business model, providing each of the firms with private banking services, business scale, and succession planning. In addition to its recent purchase of FMA, First Western has acquired James A. Sprout & Associates (Fort Collins), Sterling Partners (Denver), and Reber/Russell Company (Denver/Boulder).

The Ryder, Stilwell transaction closed on Friday, October 31.

About First Western Financial, Inc.

First Western Financial, Inc., the holding company of First Western Investment Management and First Western Trust Bank, integrates private banking and investment management services for all the Bank's offices. Recently ranked as one of Inc. 500's fastest growing private companies in the United States and the fastest growing banking institution in the country, First Western currently has $2.5 billion in Affiliate assets under management. First Western fields a team of experienced professionals to serve the needs of the entrepreneurial spirit of the West with offices in Arizona, California, and Colorado. For more information, please visit or call 303-531-8100.

Contact Information: For more information, please contact: Rebecca Wilson Macsovits First Western (303) 531-8100 Morrison Shafroth CSG | PR 720-470-3653