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CALIFORNIA: News and Insight on Business in the Golden
State | THE STATE / FINANCIAL SERVICES

Ahmanson Not Concerned by Low Rates

January 09, 1998|Bloomberg News

H.F. Ahmanson & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Charles Rinehart said investors are overestimating how much the thrift's earnings could fall if interest rates stay low. "The impact is probably not as great as people anticipate," said Rinehart, chief of the nation's second-largest savings and loan, in a telephone interview. Rinehart acknowledged that Ahmanson might have trouble originating adjustable-rate mortgages if interest rates remain low and borrowers favor fixed-rate loans. "If it persists, it would have some kind of impact," Rinehart said. Ahmanson sells fixed-rate loans to investors, while keeping adjustables in its portfolio, which could shrink if many customers switch to fixed loans. Irwindale-based Ahmanson is expected to earn $3.97 a share in 1998. In the worst case, Ahmanson's 1998 earnings could be 5% below expectations, analysts said. Ahmanson shares fell $1.81 to close at $56.06 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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