Two local thrifts agreed this week to pay a combined $3 million in fines for defrauding customers and the former Resolution Trust Corp.

South Chicago Bank pleaded guilty to making political donations earlier this decade using customers' unclaimed Social Security checks and other money, according to an agreement signed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The $209 million-asset thrift was fined $1 million.

Meanwhile, Advance Bank of Lansing, Ill., agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine and $500,000 restitution to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for failing to return $472,000 that was mistakenly wired to the thrift by Resolution Trust Corp. about a decade ago.

Advance, with $284 million of assets, and South Chicago are both owned by Advance Bancorp in Homewood, Ill. Barbara Kazmarzewski, a former Advance Bancorp executive, pleaded guilty in March 1998 to keeping some of the money for personal use.

The thrifts now must cooperate with investigators by providing documents to help determine if James A. Fitch, Advance's chief executive officer, was involved. Mr. Fitch, who was indicted, has pleaded innocent. - Laura Pavlenko Lutton

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