W.Va. Bank Calls Off California DealA $2.8 billion-asset West Virginia banking company said it has terminated plans to buy a $201 million-asset bank in California and has put further plans to expand there on hold.

City Holding Co. of Charleston, W.Va., said last week that it no longer plans to buy Summit State Bank of Rohnert Park, Calif.

In September, when their all-stock deal was announced, it was valued at $19 million. But Steven J. Day, president and chief executive officer of City Holding, said its falling stock price had made the deal unworkable. City Holding shares were trading at $32 last summer and $13 on Friday.

Mr. Day said his company also shelved further plans to build up its California franchise, because banks there have become too pricey.

As recently as September, City Holding had said it wanted to have about $1.5 billion of assets in California by 2002, with the state accounting for 25% of the company's total assets. The company now has about $211 million there, in two banks: Del Amo Savings Bank in Torrance, whose December 1997 purchase brought City Holding into the state; and Frontier State Bank in Redondo Beach, purchased last July.

City Holding's earnings have been hit hard of late. On April 10 the company restated earnings after being forced to boost loss reserves by $6 million. It also lost more than $8 million in the fourth quarter, partly because of a $9.2 million writeoff in connection with securitization of loans.

- Craig Woker and Alan Kline


Pa. Shareholders Prod Montana Thrift to Sell

A stockholder group is pushing a $115 million-asset Montana thrift to explore a sale or find other ways to maximize shareholder value.Jewelcor Management Inc. of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said Empire Federal Bancorp in Livingston, Mont., could sell for $16.37 to $25.77 a share, according to a proxy statement filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Empire was trading at $10.625 per share at midday Friday.

Jewelcor is urging shareholders to back a resolution at the June 7 annual meeting that encourages Empire to hire an investment bank to explore its options. Jewelcor controls 22,000 shares, 1% of Empire's outstanding common stock.

Empire's board said it opposed the measure, calling a sale "detrimental" to shareholders because of the current "very poor market for bank and thrift stocks." The board said it is trying to improve shareholder value by exploring acquisition possibilities in addition to already-completed stock buybacks and dividend increases.

- Craig Woker


President Resigns at California's Bay View

David A. Heaberlin has resigned as president and chief operating officer of San Mateo, Calif.-based Bay View Bank, nine months after his appointment as president.Mr. Heaberlin, 49, was named chief operating officer of the $6.4 billion-asset bank in 1997.

Mr. Heaberlin said he was leaving to pursue unspecified new opportunities. A successor was not announced.

Bay View Bank is the principal subsidiary of Bay View Capital Corp., which last month announced first-quarter net income of $500,000, down from $7.1 million for the first three months of 1999.

- John Reosti


Park National Completes Acquisitions

NEWARK, Ohio -- Park National Corp. completed its acquisition of U.B. Bancshares Inc., Bacyrus, Ohio, and SNB Corp., Greenville, Ohio.The mergers are effective April 30, Park National said Friday in a press release.

U.B. Bancshares, with about $180 million in assets, operates eight banking offices. SNB, with assets of $300 million, also operates eight banking offices.

Park National is a bank holding company with assets of $3.1 billion, including those acquired in the deals.

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