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1st National Corp. Chief Will Take Bank Post in Texas

April 22, 1988|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

First National Corp. President Robert D. Richley on Thursday was named president and chief operating officer of Houston-based First City Bancorporation of Texas, which on Wednesday completed the second-largest federal bank rescue in the nation's history.

First City, Texas' fourth-largest bank holding company, Wednesday completed a $1.6-billion reorganization that included $970 million from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and $500 million from a group headed by A. Robert Abboud, First City's new chairman and chief executive.

Only the federal $4.5-billion rescue of Continental Illinois Corp. of Chicago in 1984 was larger than the First City bail-out.

Richley, 44, "is the right man at the right time to put into effect the turnaround of First City," according to Abboud, who worked with Richley at First Chicago Corp. and Occidental Petroleum during the early 1980s.

Richley joined San Diego-based First National, the parent company of First National Bank, in 1986. During the past year, Richley helped First National complete its so-called "merger of equals" with National Bankshares of La Jolla and National Bank of Fairbanks Ranch. That merger created a bank with combined assets of more than $380 million.

First National has no immediate plans to replace Richley, according to First National chairman Malin Burnham, who learned of Richley's plans Thursday morning. "We've got so much talent at the bank because of the merger that we'll continue as we are now," Burnham said.

"I don't anticipate that we'll immediately find another person to fill Bob's shoes," Burnham said.

Burnham acknowledged that Richley's departure could cause a "a temporary interruption in our acquisition growth." First National executives have been involved in "discussions" that could lead to an eventual acquisition, Burnham said.

Mike West will continue as president and chief executive of First National Bank, First National's chief subsidiary. West was president of National Bankshares of La Jolla before the merger with First National.

At First City, Richley will be responsible for commercial and consumer banking activities, according to Abboud.

Richley, 44, was executive vice president of Crocker National Bank in San Francisco from 1982 to 1984. He was an executive vice president at Occidental Petroleum from 1980 to 1982, and spent the previous five years at First Chicago, where he met Abboud.

First City, with 59 banks in Texas and one in South Dakota, grew quickly during the Texas oil boom, but was hit hard by energy and real estate losses when oil prices plummeted.

First National stock closed down $0.125 at $9.125 in Thursday trading. It reported $1.8 million in net income for the year ended Dec. 31, 1987, up from $613,000 during 1986.

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