American Savings & Loan Assn. has opened a new branch in Orange, its second in the city, its 13th in Orange County and its 184th office statewide.
American Savings, the nation's largest S&L with $33.4 billion in assets, has been adding branches aggressively this year. So far, it has opened or acquired from other institutions a total of 28 new branches in California.
The rapid increase goes against an industry trend. In the last few years, many large banks and S&Ls have been operating fewer branches.
But the pace of American Savings's expansion may be slowing up now that it has built up its retail deposits and increased its branch network to become more competitive with other large savings and loans, said Dianne S. Nelson, an American Savings spokeswoman. "We're trying to be competitive and cost effective in opening branches in certain markets," she said.
Matthew E. Switzer is the branch manager at the 4,350-square-foot facility on Main Street in Orange.