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BRIEFLY / BANKING

Bank Plus Regains Profit, Considers Sale

November 04, 2000|Liz Pulliam Weston

Bank Plus Corp. of Los Angeles said that a return to profitability has prompted the company to hire investment banker Sandler O'Neill & Partners in preparation for a possible sale. Bank Plus, parent of Glendale's Fidelity Federal Bank, suffered disastrous losses in the last two years from its foray into sub-prime credit card lending. The company said it has agreed to an order by the Office of Thrift Supervision to limit new lending activity. The company was up for sale last year but found no takers because of its credit card troubles, which included delinquency rates that hit 32%. Although the bank lost $68.5 million so far this year on its discontinued credit card operations, gains from the sale of five branches helped boost net earnings to $2.8 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, contrasted with a $2.4-million loss in the year-earlier period. The bank has 30 remaining branches in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Net interest income declined 23% to $13.5 million as the bank sold deposits and repaid loans to comply with regulatory requirements. Bank Plus shares rose 25 cents to close at $3.63 on Nasdaq.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 7, 2000 Home Edition Business Part C Page 2 Financial Desk 2 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction
Bank order--A story in Saturday's Business section reported that Bank Plus Corp., parent of Fidelity Federal Bank, agreed to a regulatory order that would limit future lending. The order requires the bank to develop a compliance and risk-management program before offering any new lending products or services. Bank Plus officials said the order will not restrict new lending because the bank already has a program that monitors loan quality.

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