The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has threatened to order the first regulatory shutdown of a California thrift and loan since 1996.

Privately held Pacific Thrift and Loan Co. in Woodland Hills faced a Dec. 31 deadline to "sell enough voting shares or obligations" to be adequately capitalized.

Attempts to learn whether Pacific had met the deadline were unsuccessful, but an FDIC spokesman said Wednesday that the corrective- action order had not been withdrawn.

Corrective-action orders are used to "resolve problems at the least possible long-term loss to the institution," said the FDIC spokesman, David Barr. But shutdown could be ordered within 90 days of the Dec. 31 deadline if Pacific failed to show significant improvement, he said.

Pacific could satisfy the order by selling equity, assets-which totaled $182 million on Sept. 30-or deposits. And to avoid being shut down, it could also sell itself.

The company did not return repeated telephone calls this week and last week. Mr. Barr said the FDIC could release more information only after taking further action.

The corrective-action order, issued in November but made public only late last month, forbade Pacific to lend until its capital had risen to acceptable levels. Its risk-based capital ratio on Sept. 30 was 4.79%; the FDIC minimum is 8%.

Pacific has been operating under a memorandum of understanding with the FDIC since last February. It lost $907,000 in the first nine months of 1998, after making $6.1 million in the comparable 1997 period. Return on equity plunged from 56.85% at the end of 1997 to minus-6.39% in last year's third quarter, according to the FDIC.

Thrift and loan companies, unique to California, lend and take deposits but typically do not offer such other basic services as checking accounts or safe deposit boxes.

The FDIC has shut down eight of the institutions since 1992.

The last was Torrance-based Commonwealth Thrift and Loan.

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