BankAmerica Corp. late Friday confirmed that it has agreed to buy the failed MeraBank in Phoenix for $92 million.
The acquisition, which was expected, is the third major purchase of a failed thrift by the San Francisco banking firm since June and the second in Arizona. BankAmerica outbid rival Security Pacific Corp.
In June, BankAmerica paid $81 million for Western Savings & Loan in Phoenix. Earlier this month, it paid a $162.3 million for Benj. Franklin Federal Savings & Loan in Portland, Ore. That price was a record for a failed thrift bought from the year-old federal Resolution Trust Corp., the agency created to sell assets of troubled savings and loans.
Word of BankAmerica's purchase of MeraBank from the RTC had leaked out earlier this week. For its $92 million, BankAmerica receives 66 MeraBank branches and $3.5 billion in deposits, a bank spokesman said. BankAmerica also takes over $470 million in consumer loans.
MeraBank, which had been Arizona's largest thrift, was a subsidiary of Phoenix-based Pinnacle West Capital Corp. Regulators took it over in January.
For BankAmerica, the acquisition is another move in its rapid expansion in the Western United States. The firm is carrying this out largely by buying failed thrifts in states where it has virtually no presence.