Savings Bank In Richmond Seeking Buyer

RICHMOND, Va. -- Investors Savings Bank said it is holding preliminary discussions with potential partners for what could be a government-assisted merger.

The board of the Richmond-based thrift has determined that an acquisition, even if federally assisted, is "the most favorable strategic alternative available," said Sidney E. Bostian Jr., president and chief executive officer.

Preserving the franchise value of the 47-office institution would best serve its customers and communities, Mr. Bostian said.

With about $2 billion in assets, Investors is the second-largest thrift in Virginia. The larger one, the $3.7 billion-as-set Perpetual Savings Bank of McLean, failed to comply with regulatory capital directives earlier this year, and the Office of Thrift Supervision is preparing to sell Perpetual to a stronger institution.

Written Agreement

Mr. Bostian said Investors is also likely to enter into a written agreement with the OTS to clear the way for the bank's sale or, failing that, for appointment of a conservator.

In recent weeks, the thrift signed an OTS order barring it from making certain highrisk real estate loans, which it said it had discontinued earlier. Also, its capital-raising plan was rejected by the OTS.

Investors Savings, which is owned by Investors Financial Corp., would not characterize the institutions that have discussed a possible buyout, but said its franchise would interest both in-state and out-of-state purchasers. Investors is active in the Richmond, tide-water, and Shenandoah Valley areas.

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