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BANKING/FINANCE : Sherman Oaks Savings Bank Poised for Expansion but Is Noncommittal

December 30, 1987|James S. Granelli, Times Staff Writer

It's now called Sherman Oaks Savings Bank, but its only branch is in Newport Beach.

Still, the savings and loan formerly known as Westmark Savings Bank is poised for a tenfold increase in its $31 million in assets and for a bigger presence in Orange County, said Lee B. Hagerson, president of the S&L and its holding company, Sherman Oaks Financial.

If that sounds like the 20 investors behind Sherman Oaks Financial are about to acquire another S&L--possibly another Orange County institution--Hagerson is noncommittal.

"Our long-range goal is to acquire (other institutions) and become a $300-million to $500- million savings and loan," he said. "If things go according to our long-range plans, we definitely will have a presence in Orange County, but I don't want to say more."

The owners of Sherman Oaks Financial are certainly used to waiting. They had wanted to start their own S&L in 1985 but were persuaded by regulators to buy an existing one.

Yet it took more than a year before regulators approved their purchase last January of Westmark for $3.5 million, or $14 a share. It took an additional 10 months for the S&L to get regulatory approval to convert to a federally chartered institution, move its headquarters to Sherman Oaks and change its name.

"Actually, we also got approval for a new branch and location in Sherman Oaks, but now we're asking for a change of location for that branch," Hagerson said.

Until a new branch at its Sherman Oaks headquarters in the San Fernando Valley is approved, or it buys another S&L, Sherman Oaks Savings will remain a one-branch operation--in Newport Beach.

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