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THE SALE OF AMERICAN SAVINGS : Chronology of a Troubled Thrift : More Than Five Years After FCA and American Savings Met, They Drift Apart, Battle-Scared and Suffering Loses

September 06, 1988

1983

Jan. 11 -- Financial Corp. of America, parent company of State Savings, strikes deal to merge with First Charter, which owns American Savings & Loan, in a deal valued at $734 million.

May 2 -- Under SEC pressure, FCA restates and reduces 1981 earnings by 26%.

Aug. 4 -- Regulators approve merger. New company keeps FCA and American Savings names. Charles W. Knapp is chief executive.

1984

May 11-- FCA unveils plan to buy back 25% of its common stock.

June 22 -- Knapp cancels stock buyback, indicating he has serious problems with federal thrift regulators. There is "continued concern about the viability" of American Savings, one regulator says.

Aug. 14 -- Faced with mounting deposit losses, American Savings borrows $500 million from Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

Aug. 15 -- FCA announces $107-million second-quarter loss due to earnings restatement mandated by SEC.

Aug. 18 -- Regulators considering ousting Knapp as chief executive.

Aug. 20 -- FCA steps up borrowings to fend off worsening deposit run.

Aug. 22 -- Knapp relinquishes daily control of company.

Aug. 28 -- Knapp is forced to resign as chairman and chief executive and is replaced by William J. Popejoy.

Aug. 29 -- Popejoy vows to end rapid growth and heavy reliance on fixed-rate lending.

Sept. 4 -- J. Foster Fleutsch, Knapp's No. 2 man, resigns.

Sept. 21 -- FCA stems huge deposit outflows. "Confidence appears to have been restored," Popejoy says. "Our problems are behind us."

Sept. 18 -- It is disclosed that Knapp received $2-million severance pay when he quit.

Sept. 18 -- FCA drops Arthur Andersen & Co. as outside auditor.

Oct. 11 -- FCA will lay off 1,500 people in cost-cutting move.

Oct. 25 -- FCA lost $6.8 billion in deposits in third quarter. "We've been through hell and we're out of it," Popejoy says.

Nov. 15 -- Knapp forms his own investment banking firm in Los Angeles.

Nov. 29 -- FCA sues Knapp to recover $2-million severance.

1985

Jan. 30 -- Popejoy estimates FCA will lose more than $100 million in fourth quarter, adding "the good news is the bad news should be behind us soon."

March 8 -- FCA sharply revises loss estimate, saying it might post annual loss of $700 million.

March 28 -- Knapp makes offer to buy FCA problem loans valued at more than $1 billion.

April 1 -- FCA loses $512 million in fourth quarter, bringing annual loss to $591 million, an S&L industry record.

April 9 -- Company rejects Knapp's bid to buy troubled loans.

May 14 -- Popejoy says FCA is going to start growing again.

May 16 -- American Savings discloses that it lost $1 billion in deposits in April.

1986

Jan. 30 -- 1985 earnings are $53.3 million.

April 29 -- Company sues Arthur Andersen & Co., alleging negligence.

April 30 -- Problem loans reach nearly $2 billion.

1987

March 20 -- Bank board hires investment firm of Salomon Bros. to find buyer for FCA.

April 21 -- FCA hires own merger consulting firm, Kaplan, Smith & Associates.

June 12 -- Ford Motor, through First Nationwide Bank subsidiary, emerges as a buyer for FCA.

July 23 -- FCA reports $177-million second-quarter loss.

Sept. 21 -- SEC accuses FCA of wide range of accounting and lending abuses from 1980 to 1986.

Oct. 20 -- FCA posts $75.8-million third-quarter loss.

Nov. 6 -- Citicorp enters bidding for FCA.

Nov. 18 -- Citicorp drops out.

1988

Jan. 8 -- Bank board suspends sale talks with Ford.

Jan. 21 -- FCA net worth wiped out by $225-million fourth-quarter loss. Red ink for 1987: $468 million.

Jan. 27 -- FCA requests $1.5-billion bailout from FSLIC for American Savings.

Feb. 4 -- Rep. Fernand J. St Germain (D-R.I.) begins probe into regulatory handling of FCA.

Feb. 7 -- Regulators confirm that they might break up American Savings and sell it in pieces.

Feb. 10 -- Bank board member Roger Martin meets in Los Angeles with thrift executives who want to buy chunks of American Savings.

Feb. 12 -- Martin shelves American Savings' breakup idea for "tax reasons."

March 18 -- Regulators insure all deposits at American Savings, even those over $100,000.

April 21 -- Regulators confirm that they have signed an exclusive pact to negotiate sale of American Savings to Texas billionaire Robert M. Bass. Renewed talks with Ford broken off.

May 4 -- FCA posts $63.2-million first-quarter loss.

May 24 -- Popejoy bombs with shareholders at the annual meeting because FCA has no more net worth. "How could that happen?," one shareholder asked.

June 28 -- Regulators give the Bass investors another 3 1/2 weeks, until Aug. 1, to complete the purchase of American Savings.

July 15 -- American Savings' savings base continues to erode. Company officials confirm the financial institution lost nearly 8% of its deposits in first six months of 1988.

Aug. 5 -- FCA reports a second-quarter loss of $160-million on top of its first-quarter loss of $63.2 million.

Aug. 15 -- American Savings says it lost another $337 million in deposits in July.

Sept. 1 -- Deadline comes and goes for completing a sale to the Bass Group. The negotiations are extended.

Sept. 5 -- After a weekend of negotiations, an agreement is reached to sell American Savings to the Bass Group.

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