Great Western Buys Deposits Of Florida S&L

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Great Western Financial Corp. said it acquired $930 million in retail deposits of The First, a Florida savings association that had been held by the Resolution Trust Corp.

Great Western, the nation's second-largest thrift company and a growing force in the Florida market, also took 29 branches of the First. California-based Great Western paid a $23.4 million premium for the deposits, or 2.5%.

Also in the transaction, Great Western acquired $150 million of consumer loans and $187 million of residential mortgages. It agreed to resell the mortgages to Merrill Lynch & Co.

The First had total assets of $1.1 billion as of March 31. Great Western's lead subsidiary, Great Western Bank, had $38.5 billion.

Recent S&L Transactions

In other thrift transactions at the end of last week:

* First Western Bancorp Inc. of New Castle, Pa., acquired 10 branches of the former Colony Federal Savings Bank with total deposits of $182 million. Colony, under Resolution Trust Corp. control since April 1990, was broken up, with the offices in three southwestern Pennsylvania counties going to First Western.

* Colony Federal's northwestern Pennsylvania branches were sold to Marine Bank of Erie, a subsidiary of PNC Financial Corp., Pittsburgh. Simultaneously, First Western agreed to acquire from Marine the four Colony branches in Erie County, while selling to PNC's Pittsburgh National Bank subsidiary a former Colony branch in Monroeville, in Allegheny County.

Premium Could Be Offset

First Western said its net purchase price was $5.1 million. It also has an option from the RTC to acquire $157 million of Colony's residential mortgage, consumer, and commercial loans at a substantial discount, which could offset a significant portion of that premium.

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