First City Bancorp, the troubled Houston bank company that last week reported a $232 million first-quarter loss, yesterday said that it had to put up more collateral to avoid default on a several-hundred-million-dollar loan.

Without the increase in collateral -- including stock in a string of banks the company owns across Texas -- First City would have been in default on the loan, provided by a syndicate of banks headed by New York's Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co.

First City is the nation's 30th-biggest bank company, with assets of $16.8 billion. It has been hit hard by problem loans in energy and real estate. To account for current and potential bad loans, First City added $275 million to its loan-loss reserves in the first quarter and wrote off as uncollectible $58 million of its loans.

First City is the parent company for 21 Texas banks, but most of its problems are in its Houston flagship, First City National Bank. To satisfy its lenders, First City pledged the stock in all its bank subsidiaries except the Houston bank.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, First City said yesterday that to comply with the loan, it also had to pledge other assets controlled by the parent company and promise to restrict dividend payments to no more than $5 million a year.

In return, the bank lenders agreed to relax some of the loan restrictions that deal with First City's net worth and its permissible level of debt.

Falling oil prices and the depressed real estate market in Texas have hurt other major Texas institutions as well.