Lawrence Connell has saved a few banks in his career as a chief executive officer. Now he can add a life to his tally.

The president and chief executive of Maine's Atlantic Bancorp and former federal credit union regulator, apparently prevented a suicide last month when he pulled a distraught young man from a burning car in Rye, N.H.

Mr. Connell, his wife, Linda, and their daughter, Corene McGovern, were driving home from a local restaurant at about 10 p.m. on Nov. 28, when they spotted the 18-year-old man running toward a car in flames in a beach parking lot.

Thinking he needed help putting out the fire, Mr. Connell pulled up, and shined his Jeep's headlights on the burning vehicle. Ms. McGovern then spotted the man lying in the front seat.

Mr. Connell ran to the car and pulled the shirtless man to safety, wrapping him in a coat.

"There's no way I could just sit there and watch somebody burn up, " he said. "You don't have much time to think. You grit your teeth and make a run for it."

Police officials suspect that the man, a high school senior whose foster-care benefits had just been cut off, had stuffed cloth, possibly his shirt, into the gas tank of his 1988 Ford Mustang and set it on fire. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor burns.

A special fund has been set up at a branch of the First National Bank of Portsmouth for the man. Mr. Connell said Atlantic Bank employees are also likely to donate money, and his own family plans to keep in touch with the man.

"I think it's going to turn out fine," Mr. Connell said. "It's a pretty nice Christmas story."


North Dakota banker Brian Johnson spent several days this fall in the fields, but he wasn't drumming up business.

Mr. Johnson and three of his colleagues at State Bank of Bottineau actually were toiling to help farmers harvest wheat, canola, and barley. The $30 million-asset bank's "Win a Banker for Harvest '95" promotion drew raves from the farmers, who got free labor, and caught the interest of other financial institutions, said Mr. Johnson, a vice president.

"It was well received," he said. "I think a lot of bankers thought so too. We're going to do it again, and we're probably not going to be the only ones."


Apparently there's a little David Letterman in everybody. Michael P. Durante and the financial services research department at McDonald & Co. Securities Inc., Cleveland, recently published a Top 10 List like those made famous by the CBS "Late Show" personality.

Among the offerings in "Top 10 Bank Merger Rationales and Other Tidbits That Should Concern Investors":

No. 9. "'We need a Florida presence so that we can chase our retiring customers.' Separate press release denotes monthly board meetings now will be held at acquiree's Palm Beach headquarters."

No. 4. "Management assures that purchase accounting treatment makes it accretive to cash flow, dismissing concerns about earnings dilution. CEO tells investors not to focus on the $200 zillion in goodwill."

And the No. 1 bank merger rationale: "CEO Thinks that MOE stands For 'merger of egos.'"

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