Merrill Lynch's Offer for S&L Expires, Marking End of Invasion by Securities (Firms)

By LaGesse, David | American Banker, November 9, 1984 | Go to article overview

Merrill Lynch's Offer for S&L Expires, Marking End of Invasion by Securities (Firms)


LaGesse, David, American Banker


NEW YORK -- Merrill Lynch & Co. has abandoned its efforts to buy a New Jersey saving and loan, marking the end of a planned invasion by securities firms into the thrift industry.

As deregulation picked up steam in 1982 and 1983, at least four securities companies applied to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to establish or buy thrifts--and more are expected to follow. But the bank Board announced a moratorium on such approvals in late 1983 and, one by one, the securities firms gave up.

Merrill Lynch's application to buy raritan Valley Savings & Loan Asociation, East Brunswick, lingered the longest -- until it expired automatically late last month.

"We rceoved a two-line letter from the Bank Board saying that they had closed our file," said William Clark, a Merrill Lynch spokesman.

That means thrift executives who wanted to keep the securities firms out of their business have succeeded, said the president of another former Bank Board applicant, Richard McFarland of Inter-Regional Funding Group Inc., Minneapolis.

"We finally gave up -- they beat us down," Mr. McFarland said.

Last May, Inter-Regional sold its thrift charter to an outside group, which independently opened the institution as Investors Savings Association, Minneapolis.

"We just decided we couldn't wait any longer -- we had people on-board and space set aside for the savings and loan," Mr. McFarland said.

He said a thrift would have complemented the other financial services offered by Inter-REgional, including securities trading, money management, and insurance.

"We could have had our insurance agents already out in the field selling certificates of deposit for the thrift, for example," Mr. …

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