Great Western Financial Corp. said Friday that California state banking laws prohibit H.F. Ahmanson & Co. from carrying out its proposed acquisition. Yet the claim seems dubious at best, according to state regulators.

Ahmanson has proposed that it would merge Great Western into a Washington state bank charter it already has. It would then turn Great Western into a branch network of that Washington subsidiary, and eventually convert the entire entity into its federal thrift charter, according to Great Western.

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