Firstfed Financial Corp. and Professional Bancorp, both of Santa Monica, Calif., said Monday that they have a $47.5 million merger agreement.

Firstfed, with $3.8 billion of assets and 30 branches in Southern California, would pay $23.50 in cash for each share of Professional. Professional is the parent of First Professional Bank, which has $250 million of assets and six offices.

The price equals 23.5 times Professional's estimated 1999 earnings and 1.84 times its book value.

Professional caters mainly to doctors and other medical professionals.

Firstfed, the parent of First Federal Bank of California, also plans to buy Network Health Financial Services, a privately owned firm that provides health-care-related services to Professional's customers. Network Health is headed by Melinda McIntyre-Kolpin, the president and chief executive officer of Professional.

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