Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Great Western Corporation - Lehman Brothers Collection

Great Western Corporation

List of Deals

Great Western Savings and Loan Association was founded in California in 1919. The company focused on accepting savings deposits and making home loans in the Los Angeles region. The Great Western Savings and Loan Association was incorporated as a California corporation in 1925. A larger holding company, the Great Western Corporation, was organized in Delaware in 1955. This corporation included the Great Western Savings and Loan Association and the capital stocks of twenty-two escrow companies.

In 1955 Great Western Savings and Loan ran offices in Los Angeles's downtown and Crenshaw Districts and in nearby Gardena, California. The S&L had assets of $3.5 million in 1947 and prospered greatly in the following years. By 1950 it had assets of $20.6 million, and at the time of the incorporation in 1955 it had $114 million in assets.

In 1955 the Great Western Corporation escrow companies were located in Los Angeles and its surrounding communities in Southern California. These escrow agents participated in real estate deals, holding funds during transfers of title and real property. Each company was small, with staffs of three to eight people, but together the companies formed the largest group of escrow companies in California under a single management company.

After incorporating in 1955, the Great Western Corporation issued 500,000 shares of capital stock with a par value of $1 and a public price of $23.50. This stock issue, after fees, raised $10.8 million for the corporation, which allowed the retiring of promissory notes.

The Great Western Corporation went on to acquire multiple other California Savings and Loans in the next few years: Santa Ana Savings (1956), West Coast Savings (Sacramento, 1957), Guaranty Savings (San Jose, 1958), Central Savings (San Luis Obispo, 1959), and First Savings (Oakland, 1959). These and several other acquired S&Ls were combined into Great Western Savings in 1972. Great Western Financial was purchased by Washington Mutual in a white knight takeover in 1997, after a hostile takeover bid from H.F. Ahmanson.

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