Shortly after college, Richard A. Fink listed three career goals on his resume: to work for a law firm, in a high-level corporate position, and in public service.

Having recently moved from the firm of McKenna & Fitting to the second-ranking post at Glenfed Inc., he has accomplished the first two goals.

And if troubled Glenfed doesn't survive, he could be free to look for something in public service even sooner than he had reckoned.

Mr. Fink 51, doesn't flinch at the suggestion that it could happen.

Realistic View of Prospects

Like his boss, chairman and chief executive Stephen J. Trafton Mr. Fink, a senior executive vice president, is bluntly realistic about the Southern California thrifts prospects.

"Of course I had second thoughts," he said. "The company is at risk. There is uncertainty in the economy and California real estate markets. If things go on [badly] for a long time, there is a good chance it could result in the failure of this institution."

But he was quick to add, "If I didn't think the company could survive, I would not have come. I was ready for a change, and this certainly presents a good challenge."

As former outside counsel, he is well aware of Glenfed's problems and participated in some of its restructuring.

Despite his move to Glented, parent of the $20 billion-asset Glendale Federal Bank, associates do not portray Mr. Fink as a gambler.

"He's a low-key guy," said Norman H. Raiden, executive vice president-legal at rival Coast Savings Financial Inc. and a former colleague at McKenna & Fitting. "He does not have a reputation as a wild risk-taker."

A quiet and genial man, Mr. Fink is set- tling into his new digs, with a stack of unpacked cartons behind his door. His responsibilities "will evolve over time" and are likely to go far beyond heading the legal department, he said.

"I'm part of the group preparing the capital plan, and my primary responsibility will be helping in the recapitalization."

On March 31, Glenfed was $43 million short of its risk-based capital requirement. It still meets standards for tangible and core capital.

Massive Restructuring

Straining under a big pile of soured loans, Glenfed lost $55 million in the nine months ended March 31. In an effort to right itself, the company has undertaken a dramatic restructuring, jettisoning entire divisions and about 40% of its staff. Overhead expenses dropped 2896 to $214.1 million in the nine months, compared with the year-earlier period.

Despite his years working in savings and loan law, Mr. Fink has no turnaround experience. His legal work has been primarily in corporate and securities work. He had been with McKenna & Fitting since 1980 and before that with another big Los Angeles firm, O'Melveny & Myers. He has undergraduate, law, and business administration degrees from Stanford University.

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