A Los Angeles brokerage firm has applied for regulatory approval to increase its 9.8% equity stake in Great American First Savings Bank.
If it receives the go-ahead from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Wedbush Corp. could increase its stock holdings in the San Diego-based company to as much as 24.9%.
Both Wedbush and Great American officials maintained Friday that the filing did not signal an attempted takeover of Great American.
"This is just a technical filing," one Wedbush executive insisted. "This was not based on any intentions; it's just a prudent business practice (to) recognize regulatory requirements. If we inadvertently hit the 10% level, we'd be past the regulatory level (that requires a filing)."
Great American officials described the filing as "routine" and maintained that the bank "enjoys a good relationship" with Wedbush.
"Great American is pleased with the confidence Wedbush has placed in our stock," the bank said in a prepared statement." There is no indication this is a takeover attempt; to the contrary, they have publicly indicated just the opposite."
News of the filing occurred less than one week before Great American First Savings Bank shareholders are scheduled to vote on a merger with profitable Home Federal Savings & Loan of Arizona.