The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating apparently improper loans made by a former official of the Bank of Alexandria, the bank said in a press release yesterday.

Bank President J. David Holden said the loans do not threaten the health of the 2-year-old institution and that any losses the bank might incur are covered by insurance. He declined to identify the former lending official, whom he said was terminated in early June after state examiners and the bank's new auditors discovered the officer was making "unauthorized and irregular loans."

Holden said that the auditors had not yet determined exactly how many questionable loans had been made or the purposes of the loans. He said he expected a full report from the accounting firm, Arthur Andersen & Co., within a few weeks.

The bank has reported assets of $26 million, deposits of $24 million and capital of $2.5 million.

Holden said that the irregular loans were first turned up in a routine examination last spring by Virginia banking authorities. The officer involved was unable to produce normal documentation to support loans he had made, Holden said. The bank then placed the officer on administrative leave and hired Arthur Andersen to do a full-scale audit.

According to the bank statement, "The audit showed that the bank officer had made loans that were considered and rejected by the bank's board of directors, unauthorized, in excess of lending authority and in violation of the bank's loan policy."

The bank said that besides the FBI, the Alexandria U.S. attorney's office also was investigating the former bank official. Holden said he believed the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions requested the federal goverment's investigation of the former bank officer. The FBI is called in when there is suspicion of fraud, embezzlement or other criminal activity.

The Alexandria bank, although state-chartered, is a member of the Federal Reserve system and its deposits are backed up for up to $100,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.