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CALIFORNIA

In yet another high-level departure from BankAmerica, the San Francisco bank company’s chief of data processing, Max Hopper, is leaving to return to American Airlines. Hopper, widely respected for his prowess at designing and installing automated information systems, said the opportunity at his former employer was too good to resist.

Hopper, 50, was lured away from the airline in 1982 after he had created Sabre, the travel industry’s most sophisticated computerized reservation system. At BankAmerica, he was asked to modernize data processing programs that were widely regarded as being 10 to 15 years behind banking industry standards. He held the title of executive vice president.

He acknowledged that he was leaving the job at BankAmerica only partially finished but chose to return to Dallas because of family considerations and the challenge of his new post at American, where he will again oversee Sabre and design and market new data-processing products to other firms.

Louis H. Mertes, executive vice president and manager of operations for Seafirst Bank in Seattle, will replace Hopper. Mertes, 46, assumes leadership of BankAmerica Systems Engineering, with its 3,500 employees.

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