Southern California community groups are throwing yet another obstacle into the path of Glendale Federal Bank's acquisition of a small bank in Sherman Oaks.
Community leaders in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles are accusing the giant thrift of refusing to meet with them to discuss the underserved banking needs of Pacoima residents with low to moderate incomes.
They're demanding that Glendale make a commitment to increase services in the community North of Los Angeles. Pacoima, with about 80,000 residents, has only a single branch of $360 million-asset Transworld Bancorp. Glendale announced on Nov. 4 that it would buy Transworld for $63 million.
The leaders have also filed a protest against the deal with the Office of Thrift Supervision, calling for a hearing in Pacoima.
Alan Fisher, executive director of the California Reinvestment Committee, one of the protesting groups, said it was hypocritical for Glendale to attack big banks in statewide advertising campaigns for not paying attention to community needs, while not making a commitment itself to "do the full range of basic banking" in Pacoima.
"If Glendale Federal ignores a community so close to its headquarters in this acquisition, how can it be taken seriously about its concern about community needs?" Mr. Fisher added. Glendale is based just a few miles southwest of Pacoima.
David H. Hender, Transworld's president and chief executive, could not be reached for comment.
In a Jan. 10 statement, Glendale reiterated that it would "continue to operate" Transworld branches in Pacoima and San Fernando and would expand Transworld sites into full-service branches. The thrift also said it would meet with local community groups, but questioned the value of a public hearing. "We firmly believe our acquisition of Transworld Bank will provide very substantial benefits to each community involved, especially the cities of Pacoima and San Fernando."
The Jan. 9 announcement by the California Reinvestment Committee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Fair Housing Council of the San Fernando Valley follows the filing of a separate Community Reinvestment Act protest two days earlier.
In that protest, filed with the OTS by the Greenlining Institute, a coalition of community groups accused the $16 billion-asset Glendale of failing to make enough loans to minorities.