Most branches of Augusta Federal sold 3 sites to be closed, deposits refunded

March 21, 1992|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

Federal thrift regulators said yesterday that they had sold off most of the branches of Augusta Federal Savings Association, a Baltimore thrift seized by regulators last April, but said depositors who banked at three Augusta branches will be paid off and the branches closed.

Depositors at the eight Augusta Federal branches will have their money insured up to $100,000, said Kate Spears, a spokeswoman for the Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency that manages the affairs of government-seized thrifts. Only a handful of the 13,700 deposit accounts had more than $100,000 in them, she said.

The Augusta branches at 420 N. Howard St. in Baltimore, 1100 W. 36th St. in Baltimore and 6400 Rossville Boulevard in eastern Baltimore County will be closed, the RTC said. Depositors at those branches will receive a check from the RTC for their balances up to $100,000.

Augusta had $92.2 million in assets and $92.6 million in liabilities, said the RTC, which estimated that the thrift's failure cost the government $8.2 million.

The RTC was able to sell the deposits of Augusta Federal's other five branches to other area financial institutions:

* The $20.8 million in insured deposits at the thrift's Dundalk branch were sold to First National Bank of Maryland for $125,000. First National also bought $187,000 of Augusta Federal's assets.

* The $8.6 million in insured deposits at Augusta's Federal's Catonsville branch went to First Virginia Bank-Central of Bel Air for $101,000. That deal included $122,000 of Augusta Federal assets.

* The $4.9 million in insured deposits from Augusta Federal's Annapolis branch went to Atlantic Federal Savings Bank of Towson. The RTC said Atlantic Federal will get $18,000 of Augusta Federal assets and paid "a nominal franchise fee."

In a separate announcement, Atlantic Federal said it will close the Annapolis office of Augusta. Atlantic Federal has two Anne Arundel County branches in Pasadena and Edgewater, and will serve its new customers from those locations.

* The $21.9 million in insured deposits from the Westminster branch went to Frederick County National Bank, along with $342,000 of Augusta assets, for $325,000.

* The $10.1 million in deposits at the Havre de Grace branch went to Harford National Bank of Aberdeen, along with $118,000 in assets, for $77,000. Harford National plans to close the branch and serve its new customers through existing offices, the RTC said.

The assets sold to the purchasing institutions included cash and loans backed by cash collateral, the RTC said.

Ms. Spears said the RTC will hold on to the other $91.4 million of Augusta Federal's assets and will try to sell them later.

Augusta Federal was seized by the federal Office of Thrift Supervision in April, which appointed the RTC to run the thrift pending yesterday's disposition. At the time, the OTS said the thrift had dissipated virtually all of its capital by losses in consumer lending, mostly on boat and car loans.

Last month, an Augusta Federal executive, Robert Schmuff, 52, of Sparks, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges in what U.S. Attorney Richard D. Bennett in Baltimore called a "loan-kiting" scheme. The charges alleged he conspired to defraud the thrift of almost $1 million. Mr. Schmuff pleaded guilty before U.S. District Senior Judge Herbert N. Maletz. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced May 22.

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