U.S. Bancorp Brokerage Unit Names CEO

MINNEAPOLIS - U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, the brokerage unit of U.S. Bancorp, on Wednesday named president Andrew Duff to be chief executive officer as well.Mr. Duff, 42, is a 20-year veteran of the company.

He succeeds Addison L. Piper, 53, who remains chairman. A spokeswoman said Mr. Piper will take a sabbatical of two or three months and then focus on client development and retention.

Mr. Piper has been chief executive since 1983. His grandfather H.C. Piper Sr. founded the firm.

- Niamh Ring


Telebanc Shareholders Approve Sale to E-Trade

MENLO PARK, Calif. - Telebanc Financial Corp.'s shareholders approved the company's proposed merger with the on-line brokerage E-Trade Group Inc., the companies announced Wednesday.More than 99.5% of voting shareholders of Arlington, Va.-based Telebanc, which is the holding company for Internet-only thrift Telebank, voted to approve the company's acquisition by E-Trade. The companies said that they are committed to closing the transaction as "quickly as possible."

The merger deal, which the companies announced in June, awaits regulatory approval. The Office of Thrift Supervision has pushed back its deadline for approval several times - most recently until Feb. 15. Both companies have urged regulators to move faster. A clause in the merger agreement allows either side to walk away Friday if the deal is not been closed by then.

The companies valued the deal at $1.28 billion in a November filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, down from $1.8 billion when it was first announced.

E-Trade's stock closed Wednesday at $28.5, up 10.68%, or $2.75. Shares of Telebanc closed at $27.375, up 8.96%, or $2.25.

- Ross Snel


Pennsylvania Banks Have $30M Merger Deal

HARLEYSVILLE, Pa. - Harleysville National Corp. said Wednesday that it plans to buy Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Palmerton, Pa., for $29.9 million.Harleysville National, which has $1.6 billion of assets, said it expects to complete the all-stock purchase of $130 million-asset Citizens by mid-2000 and that the deal would boost its own earnings per share within 18 months after closing.

The deal - the seventh that Harleysville has announced in eight years - is valued at 169.3% of Citizens' book value and 21.4 times its earnings from Oct. 1, 1998 to Sept. 30, 1999.

Harleysville plans to fold Citizens Bank & Trust offices into one of its existing banks that operates by a similar name, Citizens National Bank of Lansford, Pa. Two members of Citizens Bank & Trust's board would join the board of Citizens National Bank, and Citizens Bank & Trust president James A. Wimmer would be added to Harleysville's board.

-Craig Woker


B of A Providing $625M Credit Facility

Bank of America is providing a $625 million secured debtor-in-possession credit facility to Fruit of the Loom Ltd., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday in a Delaware court.The loan would provide the Chicago-based underwear and apparel maker with working capital as it begins a financial and operational restructuring, which is awaiting court approval, that would let it continue paying employee salaries, wages, and benefits.

Fruit of the Loom, which also sells BVD and Gitano, among other brands of apparel, has reportedly struggled with manufacturing and inventory problems.

"The Chapter 11 filing is the first step in our effort to address the challenges facing the company and protect the brand," said Dennis S. Bookshester, acting chief executive officer of Fruit of the Loom.

"We are confident that restructuring our operations and capital structure will enable Fruit of the Loom to emerge as a stronger company in the competitive basic apparel industry, and continue to build our reputation for producing quality apparel."

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