Blaber May Quit Chicago Home Loan Bank

WASHINGTON -- Leo B. Blaber Jr. is expected to retire as president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, industry sources said.

Mr. Blaber, who has held the post since 1980, could make the announcement as early as today. He could not be reached for comment.

|There are Rumors Swirling'

Peter Lambesis, a spokesman for the Chicago Home Loan Bank, acknowledged "there are rumors swirling" but said the bank had no comment.

Mr. Blaber, one of the longest-serving presidents in the Home Loan Bank system, reportedly has been considering retirement for more than a year.

The 1989 thrift-bailout law stripped the Home Loan Banks of their role as thrift industry regulators, leaving them as a liquidity source for housing lenders. Mr. Blaber, described by one source as "a regulator at heart," is said to be unhappy with his diminished role.

The Chicago bank, with 269 members in Illinois and Wisconsin, is one of the smallest in the 12-bank system. Demand for its loans has been weak, and dividends paid on its members' stock have been the lowest in the system, averaging 8.56% in 1989 and 7.62% in 1990.

The low dividend last year prompted nearly a dozen thrifts to petition to quit the Chicago bank. The rebellion was quashed when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ruled that the S&Ls could not quit until thrift and bank system regulators had studied membership criteria.

Mr. Blaber was president of St. Paul Federal Bank, a Chicago thrift, from 1972 to 1980.

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