Anne Bacon takes the helm of Redfed Bancorp at a crucial time for both the company and the Southern California multifamily market.

Ms. Bacon, who replaced the retiring Robert G. Wiens as chief executive of the $960 million-asset Redlands, Calif., thrift last week, will decide in the next three months what to do with Redfed's bulky portfolio of nonperforming multifamily loans and foreclosed real estate.

The success of the sale - and what form it will take - will have lasting repercussions on both Redfed and the multifamily market, which has been struggling to pull out of an earthquake and a recession-induced slump.

"The area in which Redfed's problems are concentrated seems to have bottomed out," Ms. Bacon said. "Right now I'm just looking at what we have. We're evaluating all options - either a bulk sale, individual sales, or just manage it through."

Redfed has not disclosed how much of its nonperformers it intends to resolve. In 1994 it sold more than $27 million of foreclosed property.

Ms. Bacon most recently was at Las Vegas' First Western Bank FSB, a thrift that she turned around and sold to Amfed Financial of Reno at a hefty premium.

A native of England, Ms. Bacon has been a resident of Southern California since 1967 and has been in the thrift industry for 25 years. She was an executive with Downey Savings and Loan, and in the late-1980s she was a government-hired managing agent for two California thrifts that had failed.

Ms. Bacon said her appointment is not a sign that Redfed may be sold.

"This thrift converted (from mutual to stock) only recently," she said. "We've just have some problems to work through. I don't think my coming here is a signal that the bank is for sale."

Mr. Wiens, who will remain on the board, said, "Redfed has substantial opportunities for long-term asset and earnings growth. We are convinced that no one is better suited to capturing these opportunities than Anne Bacon."

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