Savings and loan industry regulators are planning a private meeting in San Francisco later this month to determine who is interested in acquiring five of California's most troubled S&Ls, industry sources confirmed yesterday.
The five institutions being put up for bid are Bell Savings in San Mateo; Central Savings in San Diego; Southern California Savings in Beverly Hills; Eureka Savings in San Carlos, and Beverly Hills Savings, now based in Mission Viejo. The five S&Ls together have more than $9 billion in assets.
All have been taken over by government regulators in the past 13 months because of heavy losses, but were kept open under what is known as the "management consignment program." That program placed the five financial institutions (as well as a dozen others in California) under new management provided by healthy S&Ls.
Sources said that the conference is being timed to coincide with congressional consideration of legislation intended to give the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corp. the money it needs to handle the orderly liquidation of troubled S&Ls.
First word of the conference was contained in a newsletter by the Los Angeles law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Regulators, who had hoped to keep the event secret, have declined to comment.
Invitations are going out to potential bidders -- banks, thrifts and other interested companies -- across the nation, sources said. Each potential bidder will be given financial information about the ailing S&Ls and asked to return in two or three months if they are interested.
"Nothing is going to happen at this meeting," one source said.