The aftermath of the acquisition of two insolvent Utah-based savings and loans has been downright uneventful.
And that's been somewhat of a surprise to officials of the financial institutions that took over MountainWest Savings and Deseret Federal Savings and Loan Association."We were prepared for a major increase in activity, and it just didn't occur," said Brent Beesley, chief executive officer of Heritage Savings. Heritage Savings, headquartered in St. George, has taken over MountainWest's deposits at the ZCMI Center and Millcreek branches.
In fact, MountainWest Financial - a new wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Consumer Financial Corp. which assumed deposits and secured liabilities of MountainWest Savings branches totaling $207.6 million - gained new customers.
"We've probably opened more accounts than we closed," said Will O'Hara, senior vice president of Sears Consumer Financial Corp.
Other than the butcher paper and black plastic that cover the MoutainWest Federal Savings signs, customers have noticed little appreciable change in business.
Heritage Savings, for example, plans to retain most of the former MountainWest Savings employees at the ZCMI Center and Millcreek locations.
"One thing customers are definitely pleased about is most of the people they're used to dealing with will be permanent employees of Heritage Savings," Beesley said. "It will work out well. I think we'll be able to absorb most everybody."
It's a different story at Zions Bank, which has assumed from Deseret Federal $153.9 million in deposits and $27.5 million in assets.
Gary L. Anderson, senior vice president and chief executive officer of Zions Bank, said Zions plans to retain 67 of the 100 former Deseret Federal employees on a temporary basis.
An undetermined number of the temporary employees will become full-time employees of Zions Bank, Anderson said. "With the others, we will do everything we can to bring them into our placement service and work out an alternative position for them in our company."
Zions Bank also plans to close most of the former Deseret Federal locations and consolidate the accounts and work force into nearby Zions Bank branches. In many instances, Zions Bank has branches in close proximity to the former Deseret Federal branches.
Heritage does plan to close MountainWest's Millcreek office and merge its deposits and staff with its office at 3983 S. Wasatch Blvd.
Kevin Shields, spokesman for the Resolution Trust Corp., was tight lipped about the status of American Savings & Loan Association, the lone Utah-based savings and loan under conservatorship.
"It's scheduled for resolution in the second quarter," he said. Shields would not comment on the number of bids RTC has received on certain assets of the savings and loan.
Sandia Federal Savings & Loan Association, headquartered in New Mexico, has four Utah branches and also is under conservatorship.