Another Southwest Plan creation is on the block.
Franklin Federal Bancorp, a large savings and loan based in Austin, Tex., has drawn interest from a dozen banks and thrifts interested in buying the $875 million-asset institution.
Franklin was formed in 1988 from three failed savings and loans as part of the Southwest Plan, an early attempt at a thrift industry bailout. Dallas leisure industry entrepreneur Robert H. Dedman Sr. bought 80% of the company for $25 million. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has a warrant for the remaining 20%.
"The timing is right," said Franklin chief executive Leonard E. Huber. He said the thrift has been a good investment for Mr. Dedman's company, Club Corporation International, "but they want to concentrate on core business."
Franklin is the second institution put together under the Southwest Plan to be in the news in the past month. Bluebonnet Savings Bank, Dallas, announced last month it would sell all 21 of its retail branches and $1 billion of retail deposits to NationsBank Corp., Charlotte, N.C.
Mr. Huber said he expects a winning bidder to be chosen by the end of the second quarter and the deal to be completed this year.
Franklin officials sat down with Service Asset Management Co., a Dallas investment banking firm, Mr. Huber said, and came up with 20 potential buyers, who were sent requests for bids.
A dozen or so responded favorably, he said, including several out-of- state companies with operations in Texas. Potential bidders include subsidiaries of BankAmerica, Banc One Corp., Norwest Corp., and Alabama's Compass Bancshares. Boatmen's Bancshares of St. Louis may also be interested.
Texas companies that may be pursuing Franklin include Coastal Banc, Houston, Guaranty Federal Savings Bank, Dallas, and Frost National Bank, San Antonio.
Franklin has deposits of $545 million and loans of $414 million. Its asset base is down substantially from the $1.9 billion it once held. The reduction enabled Franklin to improve its capital ratio and helped improve its profitability.