GE Subsidiary Buys B of A Vehicle Portfolio

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - GE Capital Fleet Services announced late Thursday that it had bought a portfolio of vehicles from Bank of America Leasing and Capital Group for an undisclosed price.The $400 million-asset portfolio, which includes corporate and utility vehicles, consists of about 26,000 commercial trucks and cars spread across the nation.

GE Capital Fleet, which has offices in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil, has more than one million commercial cars and trucks under lease and service management worldwide. It is a subsidiary of GE Capital, the $345 billion-asset financial services company owned by General Electric Co.

"This acquisition enables us to expand our market presence, especially with customers in the utility market," said Rick Smith, president and chief executive officer of GE Capital Fleet.

This is the second deal between the two companies in the past year. In August, GE Capital bought a portfolio of 13,000 cars and trucks from Bank of America Leasing.

Richard Harris, head of Bank of America Leasing, said the deal was arranged because "we think this placement will better serve our long-term strategy, as well as theirs."

- Louis Whiteman

Wells Enters NYC with Real Estate Office

SAN FRANCISCO - Wells Fargo & Co. has established its first-ever presence in New York City, opening a real estate office in midtown Manhattan.The office, which will primarily serve the tri-state New York metropolitan area, will share space with Eastdil Realty, which Wells bought in November. It is the first of several offices the $218 billion-asset company intends to open this year.

Timothy M. Zietara, senior vice president and manager of the office, said the company is taking advantage of what it perceives to be a shortage of lenders in the market.

"Because bank mergers and revised corporate strategies have significantly reduced the number of active, project-specific real estate lenders in the area, Wells Fargo believed this was an opportune time to open an office in New York City," Mr. Zietara said.

The office has already closed its first project, a $168 million acquisition and renovation loan for 32 Avenue of the Americas, the New York headquarters of AT&T Corp.

- Louis Whiteman

Fed Orders Philly's United Bank to Shape Up

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board on Friday issued an enforcement action against $150 million-asset United Bank of Philadelphia and its holding company, United Bancshares Inc., also of Philadelphia.A written agreement between the Fed and the bank requires the institution to take numerous measures, including strengthening management, raising capital, reducing expenses, and strengthening internal controls. The aim, according to a document released by the Fed, is to "restore and maintain the financial soundness" of the bank and its holding company.

The bank's board was given 90 days to complete a management review, with the aim of developing "a management structure that is suitable to the bank's needs and is adequately staffed by qualified and trained personnel, who are able to devote full-time, on-site service to the bank."

The bank was directed to review its overhead expenses, including occupancy, personnel, and travel costs. It was also given 45 days to balance its books and 60 days to bring its accounting procedures up to industry standards.

- Rob Garver

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