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Beverly Hills Thrift Banks on New Chief

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The parent company of Beverly Hills Savings has taken the first step toward transforming the Mission Viejo savings and loan into a bank by hiring a veteran banker as the new president and chief executive.

Michigan National Corp., the Farmington Hills, Mich., parent company, hired Edward H. Sondker to steer Beverly Hills Savings more toward a banking operation.

Sondker said Wednesday that his mandate is to begin making more business loans to small companies and professionals. Michigan National, meantime, will begin reviewing the possibility of trading in the thrift’s charter for a bank charter, he said.

Sondker, 43, replaces two executives who had been overseeing the operation of the savings and loan since it was acquired from regulators on the last day of 1988 by Michigan National, which owns Michigan National Bank.

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The changes at the thrift come during a year of turmoil at the parent firm, one of Michigan’s biggest bank holding companies with $11.2 billion in assets.

Five of the company’s 10 top officers have left, including Peter K. Thomsen,) president of Michigan National Bank. Within the past year, the company’s stock has plummeted from $54.25 a share to a low of $12.50, primarily on news of lower-than-expected earnings for the third quarter. The stock closed Wednesday at $18, unchanged from Tuesday’s close.

Sondker, who had been president of La Jolla Bank & Trust Co. since 1985, is expected to redirect up to 30% of the thrift’s $1.5 billion in assets to commercial banking activities. As a thrift, it must maintain 70% of its assets in home financing areas.

Previously, Sondker, who also is a lawyer, had worked at Kansas City Bank & Trust from 1976 to 1985, serving the last three years as president and chief executive.

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Beverly Hills S&L; was declared insolvent and seized by regulators in April, 1985. The government operated it through 1988 before selling it to Michigan National.


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