A small Pittsburgh thrift is selling all its branches - and blaming a period of government conservatorship in part for the difficulties that led to the move.
The $91 million-asset First Home Savings Bank on Friday entered into definitive agreements to sell its eight branches to other institutions in the area.
First Home did not release details of the transactions or the amount of deposits sold, but the thrift had $73.4 million in deposits on March 31.
Harry F. Radcliffe, president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement that First Home would submit to shareholders "our plan for moving forward" after regulators approve the branch sales.
A spokeswoman said Mr. Radcliffe was not available to discuss those plans, nor would she do so.
Although it still has a mortgage department, some observers suggested that the thrift could be considering full liquidation, which would require the branch sales first.
"It has been very difficult to grow the branches sufficiently over the last three years to sustain an appropriate return to our shareholders," Mr. Radcliffe said in the statement. The decision "to sell our retail system" was made "to maximize shareholder value."
In his statement, Mr. Radcliffe blamed the thrift's woes in part on the Resolution Trust Corp. conservatorship that the thrift had temporarily been under after being seized by the Office of Thrift Supervision in 1992.
He also said the thrift's small size had made it hard to offer "a total array of banking services."
Sources said that Mr. Radcliffe was brought in to turn First Home around, as he had done elsewhere. But regulatory restrictions on First Home, including those on loan generation, probably limited its competitiveness, the sources said.
Great American Federal Savings and Loan Association, Pittsburgh, announced an agreement to buy $28.3 million in deposits from three First Home branches in suburban Pittsburgh - in Munhall, McKeesport, and White Oak.
In addition, Pittsburgh Home Savings Bank said it would buy a First Home branch in Dormont, Pa., with nearly $11 million in deposits. The $184 million-asset Pittsburgh Home said it would acquire the deposits as well as the location's equipment and real estate.
NorthSide Bank, Pittsburgh, has agreed to purchase two branches, in Cranberry and Pittsburgh, with $13.5 million of deposits. Southwest National Bank, Greensburg, Pa., is buying the $7 million in deposits of the Natrona Heights branch; and Parkvale Savings Bank, Monroeville, is buying the Crafton branch, which has $12.5 million of deposits.