Federal Appeals Court Concurs: California Cities Can't Ban Fees

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court has upheld a preliminary ruling that bars two California cities from enforcing bans on automated teller machine fees.The decision by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, made Friday, returns the case to U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker. The preliminary injunction stands until Judge Walker makes a final ruling on the case.

In the fall, San Francisco and Santa Monica passed laws to prohibit banks from surcharging noncustomers at ATMs. After Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., and the California Bankers Association sued to overturn the laws, Judge Walker prohibited enforcement of the bans.

The appeals court ruling disappointed attorneys for the cities that seek to enact the laws.

"The justices apparently felt the injunction was proper, and we obviously disagreed with that, but we are by no means at the end of this road," said San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne. "It is still our position that local government has the constitutional prerogative to enact consumer protection measures pertaining to ATMs."

No trial date has been set.

- Helen Stock

Loeb, Countrywide's President And Co-Founder, Has Retired

CALABASAS, Calif. - David S. Loeb, president and co-founder of Countrywide Credit Industries, retired as an officer and director on Feb. 28, the company said Monday.Mr. Loeb, 76, founded Countrywide with Angelo R. Mozilo in 1969. Mr. Mozilo, chairman and chief executive officer, has taken over Mr. Loeb's responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mozilo, 61, has retired as vice chairman and president of IndyMac Mortgage Holdings, which he and Mr. Loeb founded in 1985.

Mr. Loeb is still chairman of the Pasadena mortgage bank. Michael W. Perry, IndyMac's 37-year-old chief executive, took over the vice chairman title.

West Coast Bancorp of Oregon To Pay $5.4 Million Settlement

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. - West Coast Bancorp said it will pay $5.4 million to settle a lender-liability suit filed against its banking subsidiary last year.As a result, the company said, it will take a $3.2 million hit against earnings in the first quarter.

The plaintiffs, Edward and Marianne Fischer, had lent money to a construction company to develop a piece of property the owned. Their suit claims West Coast Bank reneged on a commitment to lend money to the construction company for repayment of that loan.

Robert D. Sznewajs, president and chief executive officer of $1.4 billion-asset West Coast, said last week that the company "did not have a commitment to the plaintiff" but decided to settle the case to avoid punitive damages.

After the announcement, Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore., pared first-quarter earnings estimates for West Coast from 27 cents a share to 6 cents. The company earned $4.6 million, or 29 cents a share, a year earlier.

- Veronica Agosta

Schwab Expects to Post Record Net Income, Revenues for 1Q

SAN FRANCISCO - Charles Schwab Corp. predicted record net income and revenues for the first quarter.Schwab said Monday that it expected to earn $265 million to $280 million, or 31 cents to 33 cents a share. Revenues were about $1.55 billion. Net income for the first quarter of 1999 was $143 million, or 17 cents a share, on revenues of $952 million.

Daily trades on which Schwab earned commissions averaged a record 320,000 in March, over twice the number of trades a year earlier. Customers of CyberCorp Inc., the Austin, Tex.-based online brokerage that Schwab acquired March 1, contributed an average of 18,000 trades a day.

An industrywide surge in online trading will probably produce similar results for other Internet brokerages, said Steven Eisman, an analyst at CIBC World Markets in New York.

- Amy L. Anderson

Tompkins of N.Y. Has Deals To Buy 2 Insurance Agencies

ITHACA, N.Y. - Tompkins Trustco Inc. agreed Monday to buy two Western New York insurance agencies: Austin, Hardie, Wise Agency Inc. and Ernest Townsend & Son Inc.Tompkins, with $1.2 billion of assets, operates Ithaca-based Tompkins County Trust Co. and Bank of Castile and has a majority interest in Mahopac National Bank.

Tompkins did not reveal terms of the deals, which are expected to close May 1. The agencies, which have a total of 47 employees, will continue to operate independently, said senior vice president and chief financial officer Richard D. Farr.

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