Both suffering sharp losses in the past year--will be taken over by new owners in separate merger transactions announced yesterday that reflect the national trend toward consolidation in the S&L industry.
Federal regulators agreed to put up $10 million in cash to help Perpetual American Federal Savings and Loan Association of McLean acquire the financially strapped Guardian Federal Savings and Loan Association of Silver Spring.
Guardian's accounts and assets will be transferred automatically to Perpetual as part of the merger, one of four government-arranged S&L takeovers announced yesterday by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
In another development yesterday, Government Services Savings and Loan Association of Bethesda and Equity Programs Investment Corp. (EPIC) of Falls Church said they have agreed in principle to merge. Government Services, the largest stockholder-owned S&L in Maryland, will be taken over by a subsidiary of EPIC under the plan approved by directors of both companies.
The agreement calls for EPIC to pay $6 per share in cash for all of Government Services stock, a total of $5.25 million. In addition, stockholders will be entitled to receive at least another $3 a share from the sale last year of the S&L's property in Bethesda.
Government Services will continue to be headquartered in Bethesda and operate under its present name and management.
The merger must be approved by Government Services stockholders and Maryland authorities.
EPIC is a privately owned, national real estate firm specializing in mortgage banking and the financing of builders' model homes. It has 13 regional offices.
Tom J. Billman, president of EPIC, said his firm considered several S&Ls as possible acquisitions but it chose Government Services "because it has good management" and would be a "good fit" for his company.
Government Services, like many S&Ls, has been in financial trouble. It reported a loss of $3.7 million ($4.36 a share) for the fiscal year that ended March 31. A dispute over how to reverse the losses enabled dissident stockholders to win four seats on the association's board last year and spurred the search for a merger partner.
Government Services has been looking for a buyer for months, but received its first overture from EPIC only two weeks ago.
"We think it's going to be a terrific thing for our depositors," said Government Services' president A.R.M. Boyle. "The stronger we are the better we can operate in a deregulated environment."
The merger of Guardian into Perpetual Federal had been expected for some time. With its net worth all but wiped out by continuing losses, Guardian was given an ultimatum by the bank board earlier in the year to find a merger partner.
The bank board earlier rejected a merger application from Guardian and Washington Federal of the District. After failing to find a merger partner for Guardian in Maryland, the bank board tried to arrange a three-way deal in which Perpetual would acquire Guardian in return for being allowed to merge with Washington-Lee Federal Savings and Loan Association of McLean in June.
Heavy losses had wiped out Guardian's reserves and left it with a negative net worth by the time the merger with Perpetual American was approved. As a result, the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. agreed to give Perpetual American $10 million in cash to facilitate the merger.
Perpetual American had been based in the District until June 30 when the bank board approved its merger with Washington-Lee. Then it changed its charter as part of the merger and moved its headquarters to Virginia.