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Home Savings to Buy Coast's S.D. Branches


SAN DIEGO — Coast Savings Financial Inc., the parent company of Coast Federal Bank, has completed a definitive agreement to sell its 19 San Diego retail banking offices to Home Savings of America for $20 million, the companies said Tuesday.

Home Savings, which is also acquiring $950 million in deposits with the branches, will thus expand its total branch network in San Diego County to 38 when the deal is completed during the first half of this year, said Richard H. Deihl, Home's chairman and chief executive. Home Savings would become the fourth-largest financial institution countywide in terms of branch locations.

The sale, which must be approved by regulators, is the latest in a flurry of retail banking changes that have occurred as major banks and savings and loans scurry to build their presence in San Diego County.

This past weekend, Great American Bank signs were removed from 64 San Diego branches that Wells Fargo Bank acquired during late 1990. In recent years, Security Pacific acquired La Jolla Bank & Trust and its 12 branches, and Southwest Bank and its 14 branches.

Yet another familiar name in the county is expected to disappear when federal regulators complete the sale of Imperial Federal Savings & Loan, an institution with 78 branches that was created last year after the failure of San Diego-based Imperial Savings & Loan.

Regulators plan to complete the sale of Imperial, with 13 branches in San Diego County, by the end of March, said Kevin Shields, a Denver-based spokesman for the Resolution Trust Corp.

The acquisition of Great American's San Diego branches gives Wells Fargo 77 locations in the county, putting them ahead of San Diego-based HomeFed Bank, which has 65 local branches, and San Diego Trust & Savings, which has 50.

Coast acquired 15 of its San Diego County branches from the federal government after the 1985 failure of Central Savings & Loan. Coast is selling the branches in order to "concentrate on the Los Angeles and Bay Areas," spokesman Kirk Hallahan said. The $20 million generated by the sale will be used to "improve our capital position in the aftermath of new, higher capital requirements," he said.

The acquisition of Coast's 19 San Diego County branches "reflects our strategy to acquire savings branches at a reasonable price in or around metropolitan areas where we already have a presence," according to Deihl.

Home Savings, with 374 savings branches in nine states and 95 mortgage lending offices in 13 states, is the largest subsidiary of H. F. Ahmanson & Co., a Los Angeles-based savings and loan holding company with more than $50 billion in assets. Home Savings, the largest U.S.-based savings institution, has $38.6 billion in deposits.

Coast has more than $10 billion in assets and 120 retail banking offices in California.

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