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Bringing Mardi Gras to the Rock.

Bringing Mardi Gras To The Rock

Wouldn't this be wild?

We hear Worthen Banking Corp. of Little Rock is thinking about buying Hibernia National Bank, owned by one-bank holding company Hibernia Corp. of New Orleans.

We understand the numbers are being run.

Hibernia, with 153 branches in Louisiana and 27 in Texas, is in trouble. It eliminated its dividend to shareholders in April, and Moody's just lowered its credit rating.

The bank's stock has fallen about 75 percent in a year, down from the $20s in 1990 to about $4.50 today.

Hibernia, with $6.3 billion in assets as of March 1991, is almost three times the size of Worthen.

"Size doesn't mean anything these days," says one local analyst.

Worthen has $2.3 billion in assets following its recent purchase of North Little Rock's One National Bank.

It will have an estimated $2.6 billion after it completes the $32-million purchase this fall of First National Bank of Fayetteville.

The Louisiana bank's ROA continues to fall.

In 1989, it was .99 percent.

By 1990, its ROA was a negative .38.

By the first quarter of this year, it had fallen to a negative 1.52.

Curt Bradbury, Worthen's chairman, was out of town (buying beads and doubloons? He could be King Rex!) and could not be reached for comment.

But we heard this one more than once.
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Title Annotation:Worthen Banking Corp.'s plan to acquire Hibernia National Bank
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jul 29, 1991
Previous Article:Life on the links.
Next Article:On the fast(way) track.

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