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BankAmerica Acquisition Is First in 6 Years : Purchases Savings Bank in Washington State

Times Staff Writer

BankAmerica said Monday that it will buy a small savings bank in Tacoma, Wash., marking the big banking company’s first acquisition since 1983.

The San Francisco-based parent of Bank of America said it has agreed to acquire American Savings Bank in a stock exchange valued at about $68.6 million. The savings bank, with $640 million in assets and 22 offices, will become part of Seattle-First National Bank, a subsidiary of BankAmerica.

“The deal is probably of more symbolic value than anything else,” said Dan B. Williams, an industry analyst in the San Francisco office of Sutro & Co., a regional investment firm.

In recent years, BankAmerica’s assets dropped more than $20 billion as it sold operations and scaled back to cope with a variety of financial troubles and millions of dollars in losses. Last year, however, the nation’s third-largest banking company recorded solid profits.

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Williams compared the American Savings acquisition to Bank of America’s recent decision to open its branches on Saturdays after two of its main rivals, Wells Fargo and Security Pacific National banks, extended their weekday hours.

“They are in the process of re-establishing themselves as the leader,” Williams said of Bank of America.

Under the agreement, shareholders in American Savings Financial Corp., the savings bank’s parent, will receive BankAmerica common stock valued at $30.05 per share of American Savings stock.

The deal has been approved by the American Savings board but still requires approvals by its shareholders, regulators and the BankAmerica and Seafirst boards.

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American Savings is a state-chartered institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The acquisition is expected to improve Seafirst’s share of the Tacoma-area consumer market.


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