Magazine article American Banker

Great Western Exec Basks in Florida Rescuer Role

Magazine article American Banker

Great Western Exec Basks in Florida Rescuer Role

Article excerpt

At a time when many Florida thrifts are going down the tubes, Ronald M. Finch is enjoying a healthy expansion of his empire.

Mr. Finch, 61, is a senior vice president with Beverly Hills-based Great Western Bank, a $39.6 billion-asset thrift that has been buying up many of the failed S&Ls in Florida. Just last month, Great Western purchased $1.8 billion in deposists and 53 branches of AmeriFirst Federal Savings Bank, once a great name in Miami banking.

This government-assisted deal, coming on top of the 1990 purchase of the remnants of Cen Trust Bank, another huge Miami thrift, has catapulted Great Western to fifth place among all financial institutions in Florida, with a 5% deposit share.

Mr. Finch, who administers all of Great Western's retail branch operations in Florida, says he feels good about protecting the depositors of the failed S&Ls and "providing jobs for hundreds of employees who wouldn't have jobs if the companies had been liquidated."

"Being associated with Great Western is an upbeat, very positive thing," Mr. Finch said.

Like most of Great Western's employees in Florida, Mr. Finch came to the company through an acquisition. He had been president of SunPoint Savings and Loan Association of Lake Worth in 1987 when Great Western came calling.

Today, he still operates out of his old SunPoint office in Lake Worth - "same furniture, same everything" - but on a vaster scale. At Great Western, he manages deposits of $9. …

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