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October 22, 1986|JOHN O'DELL

Alvin Rice, a one-time heir apparent at Bank of America and former chairman and chief executive at Imperial Bank, was named Tuesday as chairman of tiny American Interstate Bank in Newport Beach.

He obtained the job as part of a deal in which Bay Area real estate investor Joseph A. Duffel--Rice's longtime personal business associate--has agreed to buy controlling interest in the bank by purchasing $4 million worth of newly issued stock at $3.75 per share.

John Engeberg, American Interstate's president since 1981 and the man generally credited with saving the two-branch bank from insolvency, resigned shortly after Rice's election.

Rice was vice chairman and head of international commercial banking operations for Bank of America and was considered the leading contender to replace A. W. Clausen as president of the huge bank until he abruptly resigned in August, 1978.

It subsequently was revealed that Rice had been asked to resign because of an apparent conflict of interest stemming from his approval of loans to Duffel, with whom Rice was personally involved in several real estate transactions.

About a year after leaving Bank of America, Rice was named chairman and chief executive of Imperial Bank in Los Angeles, a post he held until 1982.

American Interstate, with about $53 million in assets, was founded in 1973. It has just recently recovered from severe loan losses that occurred when the Southern California real estate boom collapsed in the early 1980s.

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