Magazine article American Banker

Investor Group Seeks to Buy Seamen's Bank in a $75 Million Deal

Magazine article American Banker

Investor Group Seeks to Buy Seamen's Bank in a $75 Million Deal

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- An investor group headed by two top officials of Lomas & Nettleton Financial Corp. has proposed to acquire New York's Seamen's Bank for Savings FSB in a $75 million transaction.

Lomas & Nettleton, the nation's largest mortgage company, is not involved itself in the transaction, but the investor group is led by its chairman, Jess Hay. Robert Enloe, president of the Dallas-based company, is also a member of the investor group.

The third principal member of the group is Robert Utley, chairman of First Southwest Equity Corp., a Dallas real estate development company.

"We've known the Seamen's group -- the present management -- for 15 or 16 years," Mr. Enloe said, in explaining why the group is interested in the New York savings bank. "We're familiar with the bank, what its problems are, and what its portfolio looks like."

Although the deal was not publicly disclosed until recently, Mr. Enloe said the group signed a letter of intent for the acquisition in April and signed a definitive agreement in June. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approved the deal last week, he added.

Seamen's is one of the New York mutual savings banks that has been plagued with low capitalization, but this deal is not being aided by the FDIC like the recent takeover of the Bowery Savings Bank, according to Seamen's chairman E. Virgil Conway. "This is completely different," he said.

"This is completely voluntary and there is no assistance," Mr. Conway said.

As part of this transaction, Seamen's would be converted from mutual to stock form of ownership, issuing $50 million in stock that would be purchased by the investor group. …

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