To help boost fee income, Centura Banks Inc. plans to buy CLG Inc., a privately held computer and technology equipment leasing company.
No terms were disclosed for the stock purchase of Raleigh, N.C.-based CLG, which operates in 49 states and has $124 million of receivables.
Centura chief financial officer Frank L. Pattillo said the bank, which has $5.8 billion of assets, purchased CLG in order to diversify its earnings stream. Rocky Mount-based Centura derives 22% of its revenues from fees, which is on the low side among its regional peers.
"We're continuing to move into financial areas other than traditional banking," Mr. Pattillo said. "It's pretty much looking toward building fee income."
The CLG agreement marks Centura's second recent venture outside traditional financial services. Last month, the bank purchased a 49% stake in First Greensboro Home Equity, a mortgage lender with offices in 31 states.
Leasing companies have become particularly popular acquisition targets for banks this year. In June, Centura's North Carolina rival, Southern National Corp. in Winston-Salem, paid an undisclosed amount for Medstar Leasing Co. of Asheville, which leases medical equipment.
On a much larger scale, Mellon Bank Corp. announced plans earlier this month to buy USL Capital Corp.'s business equipment leasing unit for $1.7 billion. BankAmerica Corp. picked up USL's commercial leasing portfolio for $1.8 billion in July, and First Union Corp. paid $900 million for USL's railroad car leasing unit in May.
Although leasing assets can provide returns of up to 30% on equity - compared with 16% for traditional bank businesses - the risks are also higher.
Mr. Pattillo said the acquisition of CLG is too small to have a material impact on Centura's earnings. He said the deal would break even or be "slightly dilutive" for Centura shareholders this year, but would make a positive contribution in 1997.
CLG has offices in Charlotte and Wilmington, N.C.; Columbus, Ga.; and Dallas. The company would operate as a Centura subsidiary following the acquisition, but would retain its own name and be independent of Centura's own leasing operation, which focuses on automobiles, construction equipment, and medical equipment.
CLG specializes in leasing personal computers and computer peripherals such as local area networks, disk drives, and printers. Centura has been a CLG customer for 15 years.