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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

Western Financial Rating Is Upgraded

March 01, 2000

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's on Tuesday revised the outlook on the ratings of Western Financial Bank in Irvine to stable from negative.

The revision reflects recent strategic decisions of Westcorp Inc., the bank's parent company, to restructure its auto operations, S&P said. The restructuring efforts, which include exiting the mortgage banking business and consolidating the distribution channels, lifted the company's financial measures last year.

Improved financial conditions raised Westcorp's net income to $52.6 million last year from a net loss of $14.7 million the prior year.

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