Calif. Deal Approved; Rival Suitor Spurned

Finally, Six Rivers National Bank of Eureka, Calif., has agreed to a sale. Six Rivers announced late Thursday that its shareholders had "overwhelmingly" approved a $22.5 million merger with North Valley Bancorp of Redding, Calif. The announcement came just two weeks after a vote on the merger was adjourned because it lacked a two-thirds majority.A group of dissident shareholders had opposed the deal and had urged Six Rivers' board to reopen talks with a hometown rival, Humboldt Bank. Humboldt had made four bids for Six Rivers over the past three years, most recently offering $18 a share last summer.

North Valley, with $313 million of assets, would exchange 1.45 of its shares for each Six Rivers share. Based on North Valley's closing price of $10.50 on Thursday, the deal would equal $15.225 per share. Company officials said Six Rivers would continue to operate independently but that back-office operations would be centralized in Redding.

The combined company would have more than $500 million of assets. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

- Eric Winig


USDA Official Is Farm Credit Nominee

President Clinton has nominated a top official of the Department of Agriculture for a seat on the Farm Credit Administration that has been vacant since the death of its chairman in January.The Farm Credit Administration, which regulates the nation's roughly 200 Farm Credit System lenders, said Thursday that the President has chosen Michael V. Dunn of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., to fill the slot. The three-member board has been functioning with only two members since its chairman and chief executive officer, Marsha Pyle Martin, died Jan. 9.

Mr. Dunn, under secretary of the Agriculture Department's marketing and regulatory programs, faces confirmation hearings before the Senate Agriculture Committee and a Senate vote. If approved, he would join the regulatory board alongside Michael M. Reyna and Ann Jorgensen. Mr. Reyna took over as chairman and chief executive after Ms. Martin died.

- Craig Woker


Fla. Bank Continues on Yacht Finance Tack

A $3.2 billion-asset Florida banking company plans to add a second yacht financing firm to its fleet.Republic Security Financial Corp., the West Palm Beach holding company for Republic Security Bank, said Thursday that it plans to buy privately held National Horizon Inc. in Annapolis, Md., which lends to buyers of luxury watercraft. Republic did not say how much it will pay for National Horizon, which last year made and sold $80 million of loans.

The deal, expected to close by month's end, would be Republic's second voyage into the luxury-boat lending market in less than a year. Last July, Republic bought First New England Financial, also in Annapolis.

Since that purchase, Republic has increased First New England's loan portfolio from about $100 million to more than $170 million, said R. Michael Strickland, the chief banking officer of Republic Security Bank.

Republic said it would merge National Horizon into its existing yacht business after the deal closes. - Craig Woker


Seattle Thrift to Assume a Homier Name

Seattle-based Continental Savings Bank, a $1.2 billion-asset privately held thrift, said it plans to rename itself and start targeting commercial customers.Continental Savings Bank, which operates 31 branches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Hawaii, said it plans to take the name HomeStreet Bank on May 15. Continental said the new name symbolizes the 79-year-old institution's continuing commitment to home-mortgage lending. However, the company plans to introduce products and services geared to small businesses - an area that many community banks and thrifts increasingly are exploring to improve profitability.

- Craig Woker

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