Magazine article American Banker

Georgia Thrift Agrees to Sell Finance Arm to Ford Unit

Magazine article American Banker

Georgia Thrift Agrees to Sell Finance Arm to Ford Unit

Article excerpt

ATLANTA - First Financial Management Corp. said Monday that it had agreed to sell the consumer finance arm of its Georgia Federal Bank to a unit of Associates Corporation of North America.

Associates, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co., agreed to pay $243 million in cash and "other considerations" for First Family Financial Services, which has $602 million in assets and 192 offices in eight southeastern states.

Speculation on Thrift's Sale

The announcement fueled speculation that First Financial Management, principally a data processing company, may be looking to sell Atlanta-based Georgia Federal. It has $4.5 billion in assets, making it the largest thrift in the state.

First Family is highly profitable, providing nearly half of Georgia Federal's 1991 net income of $34 million. But analysts said many banks that are potential acquirers of Georgia Federal would have difficulty, merging the consumer finance company into their own structures.

First Financial chairman and chief executive Patrick H. Thomas denied that he is looking to unload Georgia Federal, calling such talk "pure speculation."

First Union Corp., Charlotte, N.C., reportedly negotiated with First Financial about purchasing Georgia Federal earlier this year and is still considered a potential acquirer.

First Union sold its consumer finance subsidiary, Greenville, S.C.-based World Acceptance Corp., to its managers in a 1991 leveraged buyout. At that time, World Acceptance had $44. …

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