Coast Savings to Move Kearny Mesa Operation to Granada Hills : Plan to Close S&L; Loan-Processing Facility Threatens 100 Jobs

San Diego County Business Editor

About 100 jobs are in jeopardy in the wake of Coast Savings & Loan Assn.'s decision to close Central Savings & Loan Assn.'s loan-processing center in Kearny Mesa later this year and to consolidate its operations at Coast's loan service facility in Granada Hills. Coast acquired insolvent Central Savings on April 10 for $20 million.

Coast Savings Executive Vice President Bill Bradway confirmed the impending closure Friday, adding that Coast will decide over the next three months how many of the facility's 100 workers will be offered transfers to Coast's plant in Granada Hills.

One employee at the loan service center contacted Friday who asked not to be identified said she and other workers were told this week that they would be out of jobs in "60 to 90 days" and that no one would be offered transfers. Bradway said that no layoffs would occur for at least five months and that at least some workers would be offered jobs in Granada Hills.

Word of the loan center's closing comes less than two weeks after Coast Chairman Ray Martin told reporters at a press conference called to discuss Coast's acquisition of Central that job cuts resulting from the merger would be accomplished mainly through "attrition." From six to 10 branches statewide would be closed in coming months, but Coast would try to find jobs for affected employees at other branches, Martin said at the news conference.

'Obvious Duplications'

"I don't think we are being inconsistent. Perhaps it requires a bit more explanation. There are some obvious duplications (of effort between Coast and Central), and I don't think Ray (Martin) or (Coast President) Gerry (Barrone) were attempting to minimize or avoid addressing that," Bradway said.

Bradway would not rule out additional layoffs as Coast and Central operations are melded.

"This is all I can report on for the time being, realizing that we have had all of 10 working days to address the issues," Bradway said.

In combining Coast's $9.7 billion in assets and 93 branches statewide with Central's $1.7 billion in assets and 46 branches, Coast's acquisition created the 10th-largest savings institution in the state. The new Coast's deposit base in San Diego County makes it third largest after Great American First Savings Bank and Home Federal Savings & Loan.

Racked by bad real estate loans, Central was declared insolvent and taken over by federal regulators in May, 1985. After being on the market for more than two years, Central was finally sold to Coast this month for $20 million after the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. agreed to "write a check" to Coast wiping out Central's negative net worth.

The amount of cash that the FSLIC paid to Los Angeles-based Coast to make Central's liabilities equal its assets was "in excess of $250 million," one source close to the acquisition said.

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