Illinois-based FBOP Corp. last week said it would expand its presence in the San Diego area.

FBOP, which owns six financial institutions chartered in Illinois and Texas, is slated to pick up its first California charter in the first quarter of 1997 with the purchase of SDNB Financial Corp.

The $26.6 million deal for SDNB, which owns $180 million-asset San Diego National Bank, was approved last week by the board of $2 billion-asset FBOP.

The privately held IIlinois company, based in Oak Park, bought several branches of International Savings Bank and California Federal Bank in the San Diego market this year and last. Those branches are now part of its Naperville, Ill.-based Regency Savings Bank.

"We think San Diego National Bank is a good investment," said FBOP president Bob Heskett. " We think San Diego is a marvelous market."

He said his company would consider acquisitions in other parts of California as well in its other current markets.

In addition to Regency, FBOP owns First Bank of Oak Park, Cosmopolitan Bank and Trust in Chicago, and three Texas institutions: Madisonville State Bank, North Houston Bank, and Citizens National Bank, Teague.

FBOP has burgeoned since Michael Kelly led a buyout several years ago. Mr. Kelly is now chairman and the largest shareholder of the formerly troubled company.

Assets grew more than 60% in 1995. The company reported yearend return on assets of 2.05% and return on equity of 25.9%.

San Diego National would keep its name, board, and basic structure under the merger deal, and no branches would be closed.

"We specifically wanted to deal with a bank that was very community- oriented," said Murray L. Galinson, chief executive of San Diego National and its holding company. "We felt these people were going to give us tremendous autonomy."

This autonomy and a higher lending limit would help San Diego National serve businesses in an area that lost its largest locally based institution not long ago to First Interstate, now part of Wells Fargo, Mr. Galinson said.

"What the customers and community are most pleased about is: This isn't a takeover by a big bank," said the banker, who would remain chief executive after the buyout by FBOP. "I think retaining the identity is important for everybody."

SDNB shareholders would receive close to $8 per share, the companies said.

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