Great Western to Offer Loans for Consumers

From Bloomberg Business News

Great Western Financial Corp. will begin selling consumer lines of credit, home equity and car loans in a bid to transform itself into a commercial bank.

Great Western, with 416 branches in California and Florida, is the nation's second-largest thrift.

It said its consumer lending unit will make about $675 million in consumer loans by the end of this year and expects to make $2 billion of the loans annually by 2001.

The move comes as the thrift industry, in an effort to boost profit, expands into businesses beyond its traditional role of holding deposits and making mortgage loans.

"We have a significant demand for consumer loans in our branches," said Gary Bernard, Great Western's president of consumer lending.

The Chatsworth-based thrift said it plans to expand the service to Florida and throughout the U.S. in 1997.

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