A Bay City, Mich., thrift that already is the target of a class-action lawsuit charging it with falsifying information about interest rate risk has been sued a second time - and it reported a substantial first-quarter loss this week.
Mutual Savings Bank said the second lawsuit was filed on behalf of 13 plaintiffs who bought its stock between July 7, 1992, and April 19, 1994.
The complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago and seeks compensatory damages of more than $2 million, charged Mutual and four present and former officers with making false and misleading disclosures regarding its business plan and its exposure to interest rate risk.
The first suit was filed last week in federal court in Michigan, seeking unspecified damages for shareholders who bought Mutual stock between Nov. 30, 1993, and Nov. 14, 1994. Shareholders claimed in that suit that Mutual's management had misled the public about its use of risky investments and profited from falsely inflated stock prices.
Robert N. Shuster, chief executive of the $795 million-asset thrift, said its officials don't "believe there is merit to the allegations."
Mutual's officials are still reviewing the complaints with attorneys, he said. When asked whether he had anticipated the shareholder suits, he said, "I can't say I expected it. But am I totally surprised? No."
The suits allege a management team that took over in 1990 failed to adhere to a business plan refocusing on residential lending and halting risky investments. Previous management had used an aggressive investment strategy in the 1980s to expand Mutual's asset base, causing heavy losses and attracting regulatory scrutiny.
Mutual also announced this week a first-quarter net loss of $2.7 million, compared to earnings of $3.1 million the year before.
First-quarter 1995 results include a $2.8 million loss on the sale of two mutual fund investments in February, the company said. Moreover, first- quarter 1994 results included a $2.6 million gain on the sale of mortgage- backed securities.
Stockholders' equity declined 14.3%, to $40.2 million, in the most recent quarter. The company's core capital ratio was 5.1%, which exceeds the 3% minimum.
Mutual's net interest margin declined to 1.44% for the first quarter, from 2.14% in the first quarter of 1994. The thrift said it expects other maturing interest-bearing liabilities in 1995 to have an adverse affect on its net interest margin.
Mutual's assets of $795 million for the first quarter were down 18% from the year before.