TRUCKEE, Calif. - Sierra Tahoe Bancorp is discontinuing its mortgage banking operations.

The decision, effective July 31, reflects the bank's intention to focus on what it considers most important - small-business lending and expanding in its current markets.

"The company's mortgage operations were not currently profitable," said William T. Fike, president and chief executive. "In addition, mortgage lending is not a significant business for Sierra Tahoe and required resources that we believe we can employ more profitably in other areas of the company."

As a result, the company will take a one-time, pretax charge of about $200,000 in the third quarter.

The company originated about $40 million in mortgage loans through June of this year. It will continue to offer its customers mortgages in a broker capacity. Previously, Sierra Tahoe had sold the loans it originated, with the servicing rights, to third parties. Loans currently in the pipeline will be funded and sold.

Sierra Tahoe Bancorp is the holding company for Truckee River Bank in Truckee and Sierra Bank of Nevada in Reno.


WASHINGTON - Sales of previously owned condominium and cooperative apartments increased 1.0% in the second quarter.

The National Association of Realtors attributes the rise to declining interest rates from the first to second quarter, which helped first-time buyers afford to buy.

"For many entry level buyers, a starter home is a condominium, because single family homes are out of their reach," said Edmund G. Woods Jr., president of the association. "A condo or co-op is a base upon which to build equity."

According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., the national average commitment rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 7.9% for the second quarter of 1995, compared to 8.8% for the first quarter and 8.5% a year ago.

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