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BANKING/ FINANCE : Bank Deal Nearer: Another long-awaited deal between two financial institutions--Monarch

November 21, 1990|James S. Granelli/Times staff writer

Bank in Laguna Niguel and Laguna Bank in Laguna Beach--is getting closer to a final agreement.

A tentative stock swap was negotiated in late August, but work on the purchase of Laguna by Monarch's holding company was delayed while Monarch tried to negotiate a related transaction, said E. Lynn Caswell, Monarch's president.

Meanwhile, Laguna's president, Donald Narup, was asked to resign Friday. According to Richard Stenton, Laguna's chairman, Narup resigned because he was allowing the Monarch deal to interfere with the bank's operations.

Narup couldn't be reached for comment.

Stenton has taken over as acting chief executive, and Steve Rabago, a company director, will handle daily operations. Stenton said a search for a new president will start if a final agreement isn't reached within the next few weeks. Caswell said he hopes to reach a final agreement and submit it to regulatory approval within a month.

Originally, the bank's holding company, Monarch Bancorp, was going to buy Laguna and operate it as a separate subsidiary, offering its new acquisition to an out-of-state purchaser who wanted a California-chartered bank, Caswell said. That deal would have brought "several hundred thousand dollars" to Monarch Bancorp, Caswell said, but regulatory rules have made it more difficult to complete.

Now Monarch Bancorp will seek to acquire Laguna Bank and merge it with Monarch Bank, giving the combined operation about $80 million in assets, he said. Several Laguna directors, including Stenton, would join Monarch's bank, under the proposed acquisition.

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