Two District savings a loan institutions, Perpetual-American Federal Savings and Loan and Washington Federal Savings and Loan, have submitted sealed bids to take over financially troubled County Federal Savings and Loan Association of Rockville.
Bidding ended yesterday on the supervisory merger, which is being arranged by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., a government agency.
In addition, a third District S&L and two Maryland savings and loans reportedly submitted bids, although this could not be confirmed. Eleven institutions were invited to bid. The results are expected to be announced in several weeks or sooner if negotiations are swift.
Under an involuntary takeover, County Federal's accounts will be transferred automatically overnight to the acquiring S&L without any interruption in service or availability of funds. No deposits are in danger.
Should a District instititution be successful, it would mark the first successful, it would mark the first time in a generation that an interest merger has taken place. The Federal Home Loan Bank Board recently restated its policy of allowing some interstate mergers in supervisory cases. Normally such acquistions across state lines are not permitted.
In the bidding process, an institution essentially decides how much it is willing to put up for the transaction. The FSLIC, which must make up the difference between the best offer and the acquiree's obligations, then selects the offer that costs it the least amount of money, consistent with sould management practices.
After reviewing County Federal's financial situation, S&L executives estimated its loan losses at between $6 million and $7 million. The loan losses result from defaults by contractors, several of whom have filed for bankruptcy. The S&L executives who have visited the construction sites say some of the houses are only 50 percent to 75 percent finished, although all the funds for them have been disbursed.
Including operating losses, County Federal reportedly now has an estimated $20 million loss. According to those who have scrutinized its books, the S&L has $52 million in jumbo certicates of deposit ($100,000 or more per certificate) on which it must pay high interest rates. Because its loan portfolio does not have a high enough yield at the moment to cover the jumbo CDs, a loss shows on the books. However, should interest rates decline, that loss could be totally or partially eliminated.
Because of the interests aspect, the acquisition of County Federal becomes more important than just the institution itself. How much would District S&Ls be willing to pay to get a toe-hold in Maryland? The bidders declined to specify yesterday.
As one put it, "I'd like to do it. But I look at it as a business proposition. I'm not going to give away the house to do it."