Centura of N.C. Doubling Its Divestiture

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - Centura Banks Inc. said it is doubling the number of branches it will divest in order to win approval of its $608 million deal for Raleigh, N.C.-based Triangle Bancorp.Centura, which has $8.9 billion of assets, will sell one of its own branches and four Triangle Bank branches to Southern Bank and Trust Co. of Woodland, N.C. for an undisclosed price, it said late last week. Lucama, N.C.-based Heritage Bank will buy two Triangle branches, and Fidelity Bank in Fuquay, N.C. and First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co. in Raleigh will each buy one.

Centura said in a statement that the sales were required by regulators. Centura said it still expects to close its deal for $2.3 billion-asset Triangle in the first quarter.

- Louis Whiteman

Deal Would Add Brokerage to Susquehanna

LITITZ, Pa. - Susquehanna Bancshares has agreed to buy Valley Forge Asset Management Corp., a broker-dealer and investment adviser, and its parent, Valley Forge Investment Co., both based in Valley Forge, Pa. Susquehanna will pay $10 million, plus $6 million if earnings targets are met. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter, pending regulatory and shareholder approval.Susquehanna, which does not offer asset management and brokerage services, will refer clients to Valley Forge, and Valley Forge will refer clients to Susquehanna for estate planning, said Drew K. Hostetter, vice president, treasurer, and chief financial officer of $4.3 billion-asset Susquehanna. Valley Forge had $843 million in assets under management on Dec. 17.

-Amy L. Anderson

Freddie Executive to Start On-Line Lender

McLEAN, VA - Freddie Mac's head of single-family securitization, John Fisk, is leaving the company to start an Internet lending company, Freddie said. Mr. Fisk's new company, Loanchannel.com, will focus on making small-business loans and will be based in the Washington area, a spokeswoman for Freddie said. The new company has not yet created a Web site.Mr. Fisk spent 17 years at Freddie Mac, most recently as executive vice president for Freddie's single-family securitization group. Freddie Mac promoted Paul T. Peterson to executive vice president, succeeding Mr. Fisk. Mr. Peterson, who has worked at Freddie since 1989, will report to David W. Glenn, the president of Freddie Mac.

Freddie also has hired Mark D. Hanson as vice president of mortgage securities marketing in the single-family securitization group's investor and dealer services division. Mr. Hanson comes to Freddie from Lazard Asset Management, where he oversaw mortgage and asset-backed investments for institutional investors as a vice president.

- Joshua Brockman

ABN to Join Electronic Trading Group

CHICAGO - ABN Amro Inc. will join Best-Ex Services LLC, an owner-operated electronic trading consortium.ABN Amro will be the first external member of Best-Ex, which was founded by New York-based Goldman Sachs Inc. and Hull Group, a Chicago-based options trading firm owned by Goldman Sachs.

Best-Ex matches options orders sent by its member firms to the best available price. Membership in Best-Ex will let ABN Amro, a subsidiary of ABN Amro Bank in Amsterdam, share in trading profits and enable it to pass along savings in brokerage expenses to its clients, said Scot Warren, a senior vice president at ABN Amro.

ABN Amro expects to join Best-Ex in the first quarter, Mr. Warren said.

- Amy L. Anderson

Bond Market Group Names Forum Leaders

LONDON - The Bond Market Association said Monday that it has appointed Tamara L. Adler, managing director of the European securitization group at Deutsche Bank, chairwoman of the trade group's European securitization forum.Joerg Dresen, head of the fixed-income division of AXA Colonia Asset Management GmbH in Kohn, Germany, was appointed vice chairman, the trade group said.

- Joshua Brockman

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