Federal regulators took control of Deseret Federal Savings and Loan in Salt Lake City Friday as part of a nationwide plan to take over management of failed institutions and to stem losses.
Also taken over was Sandia Federal Savings and Loan, based in Albuquerque, N.M., which operates four branches along the Wasatch Front.A spokeswoman for the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. said regulators will take control of two more insolvent Utah savings institutions, MountainWest Savings and Loan and American Savings & Loan Association, within 30-40 days.
She stressed that deposits in all four savings and loans are still federally insured up to $100,000.
The two savings and loans taken over Friday were placed under a conservatorship program, where an official from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will personally oversee day-to-day management of Deseret Federal.
Regulators will oversee management of Sandia at that institution's New Mexico headquarters.
Deseret Federal has $155 million in assets, $27 million short of covering its $182 million in deposit liabilities. FSLIC spokeswoman Janis Smith said the institution has had problems for quite some time and has been under the Federal Home Loan Bank Board's management consignment program since 1987. Under that program an institution's management is replaced by a team appointed by federal regulators.
Smith said that team will remain during the conservatorship as will employees of the company.
"It will basically be business as usual. This move is made to stabilize the situation and conserve the assets of the institutions," Smith said.
Sandia Federal has $831 million in assets and $1.14 billion in deposits. Smith did not know what percent of those deposits are in Sandia's Utah branches.
Expected to be placed under the federal control are MountainWest Savings, which has been under the management consignment program since last September, and American Savings.
The FDIC, which insures the nation's commercial banks and has been designated "management agent" for the thrifts, is heading a regulatory team that also includes the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board. The FSLIC is the deposit insurance arm of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
The team is part of a comprehensive plan proposed by President George Bush to bail out about 350 thrifts, out of a nationwide total of 3,000, that are insolvent. So far, 10 thrifts have been placed in conservatorship.
Under conservatorship, regulators can see what the institution's troubles are and determine the best way to proceed with a solution, Smith said. Regulators have a choice of merging a troubled institution with a healthy one, selling it to a qualified buyer, or liquidating it and paying off depositors, she said.
In addition to the Utah institutions, regulators on Friday took over Bright Banc Savings of Dallas, Texas, with $4.66 billion in assets; University Savings of Houston, Texas, with $4.65 billion in assets; and First Federal of Arkansas FA, $1.6 billion in assets and Savers Federal Savings and Loan, $890.1 million in assets, both in Little Rock, Ark.