Magazine article American Banker

For Trade Group's New Chief, Thrifts' Victories Show on Bottom Line

Magazine article American Banker

For Trade Group's New Chief, Thrifts' Victories Show on Bottom Line

Article excerpt

C. William Landefeld, incoming president of America's Community Bankers, expects a good time as the trade group kicks off its annual convention today in Atlanta.

"We'll party harder this year than in other years," said Mr. Landefeld, who is also president of Citizens Savings Bank, Normal, Ill. "We'll spend a little time congratulating each other."

There's nothing theoretical about Mr. Landefeld's delight in the legislative victories thrifts have racked up this year. They directly affect his bottom line: He'll be ponying up $1.3 million before taxes to pay the special assessment to shore up the Savings Association Insurance Fund, but he'll enjoy a $400,000 annual drop in the deposit insurance costs and a tax break worth more than $1 million.

His buoyant spirits are shared by the thrift trade group's members all over the country. Like most of them, Mr. Landefeld runs a small thrift - $260 million in assets. Citizens is based in a small town about midway between Chicago and St. Louis. Its slogan is "Your hometown banker."

Citizens, he said, is the third-largest financial institution in the Bloomington/Normal area, but the largest originator of mortgage loans.

"We're the largest locally owned and managed institution in that community," he added.

But his thrift faces increasing competition from banks and credit unions, he said. During the past year, Mr. Landefeld has paid about $500,000 in deposit insurance premiums, while "the bank across the street that is probably twice my size" has been paying $2,000. Next year, he'll still be paying more than banks, but the discrepancy is down to about $100,000. "Our quarterly earnings will be much improved," he predicted.

And he can look forward to a time when the bank and thrift funds merge, and everybody pays the same rate.

Mr. Landefeld, 57, said thrifts were lucky that banks didn't use the premium discrepancy to price their products and services to woo away customers. …

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