The District's two minority-owned savings and loan associations yesterday announced their merger. Independence Federal, with assets of $58 million, plans to take over Community Federal, with assets of $23 million, pending regulatory approval.
In making the announcement, Independence President William B. Fitzgerald said, "The merger of these two institutions . . . will enable us to play an even more positive role in the revitalization of our city." With $81 million in combined assets, Independence will become the third or fourth largest minority-owned S&L in the country. The biggest is Family Savings and Loan in Los Angeles, with assets of $117 million.
The two S&Ls have four offices in the District.Fitzgerald will continue to head Independence, founded in 1968 as the first minority-controlled S&L in the city; Orlando W. Darden, Community's president, will become a special consultant to the S&L.
This is the latest in a wave of voluntary mergers that has cut the number of savings and loan associations in the District from 16 last October to 10. Thrifts here, as elsewhere in the country, have been hard hit by high interest rates and low-yielding loan portfolios. At the end of last year, Independence listed a net worth of $1.1 million, whereas Community had a negative worth of $195,000.
Meanwhile, another negotiating session was held yesterday between the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. and Metropolitan Federal Savings and Loan of Bethesda, Md. The government insurance agency selected Metropolitan's bid for County Federal of Rockville, Md., from among those submitted by area thrifts last April.
Metropolitan President Robert J. McCarthy recently denied speculation that Metropolitan may be reconsidering its offer, but admitted that it had not signed the contract. Under the rules of an involuntary merger, the FSLIC is obliged to seek the deal that will cost the federal government the least. The next meeting is scheduled for early July.
Depositors have no cause for worry in either merger; accounts will be automatically transferred to the acquiring S&L.