Magazine article American Banker

1st Interstate Chief Reaffirms Interest in BankAmerica

Magazine article American Banker

1st Interstate Chief Reaffirms Interest in BankAmerica

Article excerpt

1st Interstate Chief Reaffirms Interest In BankAmerica

LOS ANGELES -- First Interstate Bancorp. is truly interested in a combination with Bank of America, despite press reports to the contrary, said Joseph J. Pinola, First Interstate's chairman and chief executive officer.

"Impressions were conveyed in some of those news articles that we had not done our homework, or that we were ill-motivated, or that we were merely on a publicity-seeking adventure," said Mr. Pinola at the company's annual shareholders meeting here last Friday.

"Let me assure you that none of the preceding is true."

A BankAmerica spokesman said his company had no comment on Mr. Pinola's remarks.

Mr. Pinola said such a combination would be of "great advantage to both shareholder groups."

"We see the combined company to be of sufficient size and strength to withstand the incursion of eastern banks into our western territory, long considered the most prized banking region in the nation. Such a combination would be more competitive and better able to serve a broader customer base across the largest retail banking territory in the nation. Most importantly it would be in a solid financial position to weather the economic uncertainties of the future.

"We are surely not unmindful of the proper size problem of that bank. We had no intention of taking those on at face or market value."

Mr. Pinola, who became chairman of First Interstate in 1978 after having served as an executive vice president at Bank of America, added, "We bring enormous value to any negotiation table. …

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