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CONTINENTAL BANK $100 MILLION 7.875 PERCENT SUBORDINATED NOTES RATED 'BBB' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Continental Bank N.A.'s newly issued $100 million of 7.875 percent subordinated notes due Feb. 1, 2003, is rated BBB' by Fitch. The credit trend is stable.
 The bank is the principal operating unit of Continental Bank Corp. The operating strategy adopted by Continental has boosted capital ratios and produced an improvement in its return on equity and assets. The nonperforming asset ratio continues above 6 percent, although this compares favorably with institutions having a similar mix of business assets. Coverage of problem loans is adequate at 57 percent.
 The corporation has materially reduced the size of its published balance sheet over the past several years. This has been the result of a directed emphasis on wholesale, upper-middle market client relationships. The bank has adopted a merchant banking litany of services that generate credit-related revenues from spread lending, corporate financing fees, and noninterest services fees.
 The balance sheet downsizing has enhanced both GAAP and regulatory risk-adjusted capital ratios. This is because total loans and other risk assets, the denominator of the capital equation, have been reduced and now consist of a higher proportion of lower risk-weighted assets. To an opposite degree, Continental's nonperforming asset ratio has been negatively impacted from the asset downsizing as loans outstanding have been reduced.
 Liquidity at the bank and the parent company is sound. A growing amount of longer-term funds has added to the stable funds category supporting earning assets.
 -0- 1/25/93
 /CONTACT: Fred W. DeBussey of Fitch, 212-908-0521/
 (CBK)


CO: Continental Bank N.A. ST: Illinois IN: FIN SU: RTG

WB -- NY055 -- 8478 01/25/93 12:06 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 25, 1993
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