Sherman Oaks Firm Buys Westmark Bank

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From a Times Staff Writer

A Sherman Oaks company that had agreed to buy Westmark Savings Bank in Newport Beach more than a year ago for $3.5 million, or $14 a share, finally received approval for the deal from state and federal regulators.

Sherman Oaks Financial Corp., a group of less than 20 investors, completed the purchase shortly after the state Department of Savings and Loan approved the transaction Jan. 30, according to the department’s notice Wednesday.

Westmark, which ended last year with $33 million in assets, will operate as a subsidiary of the company and will retain its current management.


The main delay in the approval process, a company source said, was the 11 1/2-month investigation of Sherman Oaks Financial’s principals by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. FSLIC has closed so many new or fast-growing S&Ls; in recent years that its reserves are down to $1.9 billion and it is unable to close major problem institutions.

The company also has an application pending to open a branch office in Sherman Oaks and, under the terms of the acquisition, must change the name of the S&L; within nine months. If the application for a new branch office is approved, the company will likely move the S&L;’s headquarters to Sherman Oaks, the source said.

Westmark was owned by Primark Financial Services, a subsidiary of Primark Corp., a Detroit gas utility holding company.