Ranieri's Thrift Purchases $2.3 Billion in RTC Deposits

United Savings Association of Texas, controlled by mortgage-securities pioneer Lewis Ranieri, grew into the state's second-largest thrift last week with the acquisition of $2.3 billion of deposits from the Resolution Trust Corp.

The deposit had been held by San Jacinto Savings Association, a failed thrift formerly owned by Southmark Corp., a real estate company that has filed for bankruptcy protection.

United, which balanced the deposits with $2 billion in assets advanced by the RTC, grew to $7 billion in assets, second in the state to Dallas-based First Gibraltar Bank's $8 billion.

Mortgages Also Bought

United's bid for the insured deposits was $26.8 million, a 1.1% premium over the total. United also purchased residential mortgages with a book value of $112 million for $7.5 million more than the RTC's minimum price of $101.9 million.

Included with the San Jacinto deposits were 20 branches - 16 in Houston, bringing United to 34 in that area; and four in Dallas-Fort Worth, bringing the total there to 29. United has six offices in other Texas cities and it owns Commonwealth-United Mortgage Corp., with 52 offices in 16 states.

San Jacinto also represents the last of the big Houston-based thrifts to be offered for sale by the RTC, United said in a statement Friday. It culminated a series of acquisitions since Mr. Rainieri organized the company, of which he is chairman, in December 1988.

Other Purchases

Among its RTC acquisitions were Metropolitan Financial Federal Savings, Dallas; Murray Federal Savings and Loan, Dallas, and Ameriway Savings, Houston, all in 1990; and, two weeks ago, BancPlus Federal Savings Association, Pasadena, Tex.

"We are especially excited about the San Jacinto acquisition because we want to expand our Houston network, and the acquired branches are well-located for our needs," said Barry Burkholder, a former Citicorp executive who has been United Savings president and chief executive officer since April. He added it is "in line with our investment strategy, which is based on our strong commitment to the Texas retail market."

The Office of Thrift Supervision granted United, a federal savings bank, permission to merge with its sister institution, United Savings Association of the Southwest, on Friday.

Several Sizable Sales

Other sales of failed thrifts last week included the following:

* $1 billion in deposits of United Savings Association of America (not related to Mr. Ranieri's Texas thrift), and 135,000 of its accounts in 12 offices, to First Chicago Corp. The premium was $25.5 million, or about 2.5%.

The deal brought First Chicago to 100 branches in the Chicago area, 40 more than its closest competitor, according to Richard L. Thomas, president of the holding company.

Citicorp Savings and LaSalle National Corp., a subsidiary of ABN Amro of the Netherlands, each have about 60 banking offices.

The First Chicago network includes the offices of First National Bank of Chicago and affiliates Gary-Wheaton National and American National, the latter extending into Wisconsin. The $48 billion-asset company has made three acquisitions from the RTC over the last year.

Jerry C. Bradshaw, executive vice president of community banking, said First Chicago will consolidate United Savings' operations "as quickly as possible." Until the computer systems are integrated, First Chicago customers will not be able to use United's offices.

* $824 million in deposits of First Federal Savings of Toledo. Ohio, to First Federal Savings Bank, a subsidiary of Cleveland-based Charter One Financial Inc. The buyer, which also took 15 Toledo offices to add to its previous seven, paid a premium of $26 million in a joint bid with First Federal Savings of Lorain, Ohio, which acquired offices in Sandusky, Huron, and Port Clinton. Charter's total assets grew by 24% in the transaction to $3.8 billion.

Charter, which does business in Toledo as People's Savings, also bought about $590 million in assets, principally performing residential loans. Of those loans, about $300 million of mortgages were acquired from the bank by Merrill Lynch & Co. and $44 million by First Federal of Lorain.

* $265 million in deposits of Eastern Federal Savings and Loan Association to Bayside Federal Savings Bank, a subsidiary of Jericho, N.Y.-based Metro Bancshares Inc.

Bayside also acquired $120 million in one-to-four-family mortgages, $38 million in other mortgages and loans, and $107 million in cash and other assets, and has a 90-day put back option on all of the other mortgages and loans and part of the one-to-four-family portfolio. Bayside said it paid a $2.1 million premium, or 0.88% of core deposits.

* $236 million in deposits of Santa Paula (Calif.) Savings to the Bank of A. Levy, Ventura, Calif. The subsidiary of Levy Bancorp also took $226.8 million in assets from the bank's five branches, and ended up with $885 million in assets. It paid $7.4 million, or a 3% premium on the total deposits.

This article includes reports from Dow Jones News Service.

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