A San Francisco-area thrift is plowing ahead with plans to build a national consumer finance business.

Bay View Capital Corp., San Mateo,has agreed to buy Exxe Data Corp. and its commercial finance subsidiary, Concord Growth Corp., for as much as $53.8 million in cash.

The price consists of a $19.8 million initial closing payment and future allotments to Exxe shareholders of up to $34 million, depending on Concord's future performance. The closing price is about 9.4 times what Bay View estimates Concord could earn during the first full year after the acquisition.

The purchase would give $3.3 billion-asset Bay View a nationwide commercial finance operation, adding to its existing banking, consumer credit, and auto financing services. Bay View expects to add about $65 million of assets, including $50 million in off-balance-sheet financing that will be returned to the books.

Officials predict that 20% of Bay View's consolidated profits for the first year after the purchase will come from consumer and commercial financing.

"This really gives us the third leg of the stool," said Bay View president and chief executive Edward H. Sondker. "We believe this acquisition is very consistent with our mission at the holding company."

Bay View stock traded up to $58 last Thursday, before dropping back to close at $52.88. It was trading at $52 as of Monday noon.

"What a difference a management team makes," said Charlotte Chamberlain, analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles. "They took a garden variety thrift and made it into a sizzling earnings machine."

The transaction is part of Bay View's plans to become a diversified financial services company instead of continuing with its traditional mortgage lending. Like those at many of the nation's thrifts, officials at Bay View concluded that heavy competition and low margins in mortgage- lending made that business unprofitable.

The deal would also help Bay View dispose of excess capital. The company's Tier 1 leverage ratio is 9.40%.

Concord, based in San Jose, Calif., has 13 loan offices throughout the country. The company provides asset-backed financing and factoring to small businesses seeking loans of $500,000 to $2 million. The acquisition, which is still subject to the approval of Exxe shareholders, is expected to be completed in March.

Meanwhile, Bay View has completed or announced several sales as part of its restructuring of California Thrift and Loan, a subsidiary it acquired in June. Officials expect to receive $48 million in capital from the restructuring.

The company sold California Thrift's $60 million equipment leasing portfolio to Santa Barbara Bank and Trust. It also sold the thrift's Santa Barbara corporate headquarters. California Thrift is selling part of its auto loan portfolio to a Bay View subsidiary formed to issue asset-backed securities through a trust.

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