Comerica Buying Trust Business In Florida from Midlantic Corp.

A unit of Detroit-based Comerica Inc. has agreed to acquire the Florida trust business of troubled Midlantic Corp. Analysts estimated the price at $3 million to $4 million.

Comerica Trust Co. of Florida will buy $315 million of trust-department assets and $30 million in private banking and home equity loans from Midlantic National Bank and Trust Co. of Florida.

Comerica, which has been trying to tap the trust business of its Midwestern customers who vacation in Florida, will have about $1.5 billion of assets under management in Florida after the purchase.

The sale is expected to be completed by December.

Major Project

For Midlantic, the deal represents the latest leg in a sprint to purge itself of $6.3 billion of assets outside the bank's primary markets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

However, the trust company's sale will lead to only a slight uptick in Midlantic's 3.8% ratio of equity to assets, said Michael Plodwick, an analyst at C.J. Lawrence, Morgan Grenfell.

The unit is one of the smallest parcels in the asset disposition package.

The largest remaining assets on Midlantic's sale sheet are four banks in upstate New York.

A Presence in Florida

Midlantic, based in Edison, N.J., will retain $101 million in deposits at its Fort Lauderdale-based bank subsidiary. However, it will not solicit any new Florida business, said James Wynsma, executive vice president of Midlantic National.

In August, Mellon Bank Corp. agreed to buy United Penn Bank in northeastern Pennsylvania for about $90 million in cash.

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