Executive Summary

Savings and loans are an endangered species in L.A. County.

As a national consolidation frenzy grips the financial services industry, L.A. thrifts have become popular targets for acquisition. Last year, an institution had to have at least $83 million in assets to make the List of 25 Largest S & Ls; (ranked by assets). This year, Royal Thrift & Loan made the List with just over $30 million in assets.

Departures include Great Western Financial Corp., formerly the second biggest thrift in L.A. County, acquired earlier this year by Washington Mutual Inc., and California Federal Bank, snatched up by First Nationwide Holdings Inc.

Four other thrifts from last year's List, including Topa Savings Bank in Santa Monica and First Public Savings Bank of downtown L.A., have been acquired by outside companies and are no longer headquartered locally.


Home Savings of America

Chief Executive: Charles R. Rinehart

H.F. Ahmanson parent company of Home Savings recently lost battle with Washington Mutual Inc. to take over Great Western Financial Corp. Loss has left some analysts wondering if Home Savings soon will be a takeover target itself.

Rinehart is credited with boosting thrift's consumer and small business loan programs, and reducing reliance on mortgage lending. Despite loss of Great Western, some speculate that Ahmanson might still be in the market to acquire another financial institution.

Glendale Federal Bank

Chief Executive: Stephen J. Trafton

Like Ahmanson, Glendale Federal is frequently mentioned as a target for acquisition. Ironically, GlenFed has been trying to steal former customers of First Interstate Bank following that bank's acquisition by Wells Fargo. GlenFed has been trying to do this by emphasizing its own stability and poking fun at Well Fargo's post-merger turmoil.

GlenFed has also been leading the effort by national thrift industry to retrieve billions of dollars in "goodwill" guaranteed by the federal government during thrift crisis of the 1980s. GlenFed seeks $1 billion in breach of contract case being heard in U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Ray Martin

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Coast Federal Bank

Another local thrift considered ripe for takeover, Coast Federal is enjoying strong year financially and, like many large thrifts, is aggressively pursuing checking account customers to become more bank-like.

Coast officials expect to attract 100,000 new checking accounts in 1997. Coast has been offering the accounts since 1981, but as of 1996 had only 140,000 of them.

Ray Martin has been with Coast for nearly 30 years and was named president and chief operating officer in 1980.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.