Regulators Sell Texas S&L; in Bailout's Biggest Deal

From Associated Press

Federal regulators on Friday sold the insolvent Bright Banc Savings Assn. of Dallas to an Ohio bank holding company in the largest thrift sale since enactment of the S&L; bailout law in August.

Banc One Corp. of Columbus, Ohio, is receiving $1.1 billion in government assistance to acquire Bright Banc, founded in the early 1980s by H. R. (Bum) Bright, once one of the 50 wealthiest men in the country and the former owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team. Banc One is paying $45 million.

Bright Banc, with $3.1 billion in assets, is the biggest failed thrift in Texas and the largest yet sold by the Resolution Trust Corp.

The deal is one of the first in which the RTC has persuaded the buyer to take a substantial portion of the thrift's loans and other assets. Banc One is getting $1.7 billion of the S&L;'s assets, including residential mortgages, consumer loans, cash and securities.

The RTC is keeping $1.4 billion in assets, mostly sour loans and repossessed real estate. After it sells the assets, it estimates the government's total loss on the institution will be $1.4 billion, including the $1.1 billion paid to the Ohio company.

RTC officials had promised a major sale after undergoing a tongue-lashing earlier this week from members of the Senate Banking Committee upset with the slow pace of the Administration's S&L; cleanup.

The agency has taken over more than 350 failed thrifts, disposing of 43 of them. But, in most of the transactions it has simply transferred the failed institutions' deposits to the new owner and retained the assets for later sale.

Bank One Texas, a unit of the Ohio holding company, is assuming all $2.6 billion of Bright Banc's deposits in 250,000 accounts. The thrift's 48 offices will remain open.

The acquisition gives Bank One Texas a formidable retail network in Texas. It would add Bright Banc's branches to the 63 it currently operates and create a combined institution with about $14 billion in assets, among the 25 largest banking operations in the nation.

Banc One first ventured into Texas in June with the purchase of 20 failed banks formerly owned by Dallas-based MCorp., getting an estimated $2 billion in federal aid.

The Ohio company has a reputation as a pioneer in retail banking. It was one of the first banks to offer automated teller machines. And it has been a leader in packaging obligations owed by credit card holders into securities for sale to investors.

Bright Banc was created in the consolidation of three smaller S&Ls; and invested aggressively in Texas commercial real estate. It got into trouble when property values began to decline following the 1986 collapse of oil prices.

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