Chase Manhattan Corp. and Republic New York Corp. are quietly angling to buy the branches and deposits of troubled American Savings Bank, sources say.
The bidding for the White Plains, N.Y.-based thrift looks like a replay of the contest for Crossland Savings earlier this year. Both Chase and Republic bid for Crossland's deposits, though the government chose in the end to try to nurse the thrift back to health. Chase also was believed to have pursued the 63 Barclays New York branches that Bank of New York agreed to buy last week.
W. Ronald Dietz, chief executive of American, has signaled that the 38-branch thrift wants to sell all or part of itself with government assistance. But such "open bank assistance" is rarely awarded, and observers are betting the thrift will be seized and sold to one of the bidders.
While Chase and Republic are the most oft-mentioned suitors, New Jersey's First Fidelity Bancorp may also be interested in American.
Officials at American, Republic, First Fidelity, and Chase declined to comment.