RTC Sells Comfed Savings Deposits to 3 New England Institutions

NEW YORK -- The Resolution Trust Corp. has sold to three New England financial institutions deposits of Comfed Savings Bank, a failed thrift based in Lowell, Mass.

Comfed, which had been one of the largest thrifts in the region, reported $1.2 billion in assets on March 31. It was seized by the Office of Thrift Supervision in December.

Northeast Financial Corp. said its subsidiary, Northeast Savings of Hartford, won the bidding for eight branches with $210 million in deposits -- four offices each in the Springfield and Pittsfield areas of Massachusetts.

Northeast, itself recovering from poor earnings, said it bid on all the deposits in those offices but received only insured deposits.

Northeast, which has 46 branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, said it is likely to close some of the Comfed branches after an evaluation period.

Other Winning Bidders

The RTC also sold $100 million of insured deposits in four Comfed branches to First Federal Savings and Loan Association of East Hartford, Conn.; $97 million in four New Haven County offices to First Constitution Bank, a subsidiary of First Constitution Financial Corp. in New Haven; and $9.7 million in one Pepperell, Mass., office to NFS Savings Bank, a subsidiary of NFS Financial Corp., Nashua, N.H.

First Constitution said it paid a premium of $105,000 for the deposits, or about 0.1% of the total, while NFS paid $25,000 or 0.2%.

In other actions at the end of last week, the RTC:

* Closed Columbia Savings and Loan Association, Beverly Hills, Calif., ending the saga of one of the most notorious thrift failures.

American Savings Bank, Irvine, Calif., bought the failed thrift's 20 branches and $1.15 billion in deposits for $6.1 million.

Based on core deposits of $744 million, that represented a premium of 0.76%.

American had 174 branches before the acquisition and said it may consolidate some branches in Southern California.

The RTC is paying off the rest of the depositors of Columbia. It had $4.76 billion in deposits, of which $45 million were uninsured and $2.8 billion brokered but insured.

The bill to taxpayers for closing Columbia is $1.2 billion.

* Sold $191 million of deposits in six branches of Alexander Hamilton Federal Savings and Loan Association in New Jersey to First Fidelity Bancorp., Lawrenceville, N.J.

First Fidelity, which also bought $87 million in residential fixed mortgage loans, said the offices became part of its Totowa-based affiliated, First Fidelity Bank of North Jersey.

* Sold the Basking Ridge, N.J., office of Atlantic Federal Savings and Loan of Plainfield to New Jersey Savings Bank, a unit of Bancorp New Jersey, Somerville.

The purchaser said it paid $127,215 for $25 million in deposits, for a 0.5% premium.

* Sold 12 branches of First Jersey Savings with $200 million in deposits, to Valley National Bank, a subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp of Wayne.

Ten of the branches are in Bergen County, the others in Passaic and Mercer counties.

* Sold $15 million in insured deposits at the Sanford and South Sanford, Maine, offices of American Federal Savings Bank to Mid Maine Savings Bank, Auburn.

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