Citicorp builds on southern California beachhead

As interstate banking spreads, the nation's No. 1 bank holding company is making its presence felt in the lucrative southern California market. An Oakland-based savings-and-loan association acquired by the New York-based Citicorp last year will soon debut in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Marking its southward push, Citicorp Savings, a federal savings-and-loan association, recently received approval to establish branch offices in Glendale, a Los Angeles suburb, and in the city of Orange.

Citicorp Savings also plans to open two branches in San Diego County.

The bank holding company got a major boost into the California market when it took over the former Fidelity Savings & Loan Association (not related to Glendale-headquartered Fidelity Federal S&L) which regulators had seized.

Fidelity had concentrated operations in northern and central California with an 81-office network. As the renamed Citicorp Savings, it turned its gaze southward. Glendale appears to be a testing ground for Citicorp. That's where it opened a thrift and loan - Citicorp Person-to-Person Thrift - last spring. Citicorp is also in consumer finance in California through 15 statewide offices of Citicorp Person-to-Person Financial Center.

Even before its name was hoisted over the Fidelity offices, Citicorp had more than 3,000 workers in California. Its Western division and other units established a major outpost a year ago in downtown Los Angeles, occupying 104, 000 square feet spanning five floors of a new 48-story skyscraper.

All this is happening, of course, before formal approval of true interstate banking.

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