Thrift-y Shoppers' Catalog

December 23, 1993|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

For the banker who has everything, the federal Resolution Trust Corp. yesterday released its own version of the Spiegel catalog, and just in time for Christmas: It's a list of 63 savings and loans, in slightly damaged condition, for sale to the highest bidders.

The sale was triggered Friday when President Clinton signed a bill to release $18.3 billion in new funding to the RTC as part of the Resolution Trust Corp. Completion Act. It was the RTC's first cash infusion in two years.

Among the thrifts, all of which have been resting quietly in RTC receivership for varying lengths of time, are three large Maryland institutions -- Second National Federal Savings Association of Salisbury ($698 million in deposits), John Hanson Federal Savings Bank, in Beltsville ($172 million), and Standard Federal Savings Bank, based in Gaithersburg ($157.2 million) -- and one smaller thrift, Potomac Federal Savings Bank of Silver Spring ($25.6 million).

For depositors who have money in these thrifts it's time to make sure no account holds more than $100,000. If the RTC decides to sell only the insured deposits to a buyer, or in the unlikely event a thrift fails to attract an adequate bid, depositors would receive only the portion of their account that's insured.

Some percentage of the rest could be paid back eventually from the liquidation of assets, a slow process.

Various types of jointly held accounts are treated differently in terms of deposit insurance. A depositor with several accounts that in total exceed $100,000 at one thrift should check with an accountant or the RTC to determine to what extent those deposits are insured.

Most of the institutions on the final list of 63 thrifts have attracted some interest from potential buyers, according to RTC spokeswoman Felisa Neuringer. She said buyers have paid anywhere from 0.5 percent of deposits to as much as 7 percent to acquire failed thrifts.

Because this is the last set of institutions available from the government, some have speculated the prices fetched will tend toward the high end.

Attractive subsidiaries of some companies likely will be sold separately, Ms. Neuringer said. For instance, last week the RTC hired Goldman Sachs of New York and a Florida company to help find a buyer for the mortgage servicing subsidiary of Standard Federal, which was seized in October 1992 when it had about $1.83 billion in assets and $882 million in deposits.

Standard Federal's mortgage servicing company employed 1,300 people in Frederick when it was taken over, and more in centers in other states. It had a portfolio of $36 billion in mortgages, the largest such portfolio of any thrift in the nation, although it since has dwindled to $22 billion. It now employs about 800.

To date, the RTC has closed or sold 680 failed thrifts since the agency was created in 1989.

Sales of assets and collections of defaulted loans have reached nearly $350 billion, but the final cost to taxpayers of the savings and loan crisis has amounted to $150 billion.

All told, the remaining thrifts have deposits of almost $19 billion.

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