Riggs National Bank Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vincent C. Burke Jr. said yesterday that he looks forward to "a long association" with millionaire Joe L. Allbritton, whose control of the 145-year old bank now is virtually assured.
Allbritton -- whose proposal to increase his holdings in the area's largest financial institution to 40.1 percent was ratified Monday in a settlement with the Riggs board of directors -- left town yesterday for a vacation with his family, his battle won.
Burke, in an interview, would say little specific about the bank's future and nothing at all about the takeover fight just ended. "I just want to talk about the future," he said. "We look forward to the future with great confidence and anticipation."
Until Monday's settlement, it was not clear that Burke or others who have run the venerable bank would have a future. The fight with Allbritton had been marked by some sharp exchanges before it ended resonably amicably.
Area bankers, to th extent they said anything, said yesterday that they anticipate no immediate radical changes in Riggs because of Allbritton's control.
"Riggs Bank has been around too long and is too good at what it does to dramatically change what it does," said Robert Tardio, chairman of Suburban Trust Co., the largest bank in suburban Maryland.
"I have said that I thought Washington banking is going to change regardless," said National Bank of Washington Chairman Luther Hodges. "Riggs was going to and will change regardless of ownership," he said, speaking of such anticipated developments as regional banking.
"I thing he's made a good long-term investment," said Hodges. Hodges predicted that Allbritton would hold onto the bank quite awhile, although some local analysts say he might plan to sell it after a short time for a huge profit as he did with The Washington Star.
"Banks are a different type of investment," said Hodges.
Burke had no answers yesterday to questions such as the amount of legal fees to fight Allbritton's bid, whether the bank had suffered at all from public attention to the takeover battle and whether Allbritton would have an office in the bank. Allbritton's style in other investments generally has been to leave management to the chief executive officer but to stay in close contact by telephone.
But Burke did talk in general aobut changes that may occur in Washington-area banking, suggesting that the D.C. City Council eventually might be approached by bankers and asked to invite bank holding companies from other areas into the city. Such a move probably would increase the value of local banks by increasing the number of bidders interested in them.
"The smaller banks of the District of Columbia, if they're not interested in keeping their identities, there's no place to go but up, valuewise," he said.
Burke also said he expects banks and savings and loans eventually would merge identities, an outcome of recent blurrings in the distinctions between the two types of operations. "Instead of being called the Riggs National Bank of Washington, it might be called the Riggs Financial Institution," he said. "Look for 'financial institution' to become the operative phrase."
In heavy trading yesterday, Riggs stock closed in the over-the-counter market at $62.50 a share, up 50 cents for the day but still substantially below the $67.50 Allbritton has committed to pay.
According to stock traders, many area investors decided to sell at the certain price of yesterday's market rather than submit their stock to Allbritton and have only a portion of it purchased by the Washington businessman.
Under the agreement with Riggs directors, Allbritton will buy no more than 750,000 shares, and almost that amount already had been tendered as of last Friday. If more than that number is tendered by the deadline next weekend, Allbritton will purchase shares on a pro-rata basis.
Thus, if Allbritton is offered a million shares (considered a good possibility), he would buy three-quarters of the stock offered by each individual seller for a total of 750,000 shares. Patrick Ryan, vice president of Johnston, Lemon & Co., said he expects Riggs stock to move slightly lower because more shares probably will be tendered to Allbritton.
"Many people have been on the sidelines in support of Riggs management, but now that there is a friendly agreement they will offer their shares in the next few days," he said.