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SOUTHWEST GAS ANNOUNCES OTS TERMINATES SUBSIDIARY'S SUPERVISORY AGREEMENT

 LAS VEGAS, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Gas (NYSE: SWX) announced that the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) lifted all elements of PriMerit Bank's supervisory agreement. PriMerit Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Gas Corp. "We are very pleased that the OTS has recognized management's efforts in addressing the OTS' concerns," stated Michael O. Maffie, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Gas Corp.
 PriMerit Bank is the largest Nevada-based financial institution with $1.8 billion in assets. Over the past two years, the bank has restructured and downsized its balance sheet, eliminated its exposure to real estate ventures, reduced its problem assets, increased its level of regulatory capital to in excess of "well capitalized" guidelines, improved the bank's profitability and sold its seven branches in Arizona. These significant actions resulted in the OTS' termination of this supervisory agreement. The agreement was originally entered into in 1991 when the bank had significant real estate investments and problem real estate loans which resulted in losses in 1991 and 1992.
 PriMerit returned to profitability in 1993 and is building its core banking units to sustain the trend. "A major part of changing the strategic direction of the bank has been refocusing our efforts on the core activities of the bank: retail banking, residential real estate lending and financing the construction of single-family homes in Nevada. In addition, we are expanding our business lending which was a natural with our knowledge of Nevada business," stated Dan J. Cheever, president and chief executive officer of PriMerit Bank, Federal Savings Bank.
 Southwest Gas is a diversified natural gas utility and financial services organization. It provides natural gas to over 900,000 customers in Nevada, Arizona and California. PriMerit Bank, a federally chartered savings bank, markets a wide variety of consumer financial products and services through branches in Nevada.
 -0- 11/18/93
 /CONTACT: Dante Pistone (media contact), 702-876-7253, or Laura Hobbs (shareholder contact), 702-876-7237, both of Southwest Gas/
 (SWX)


CO: Southwest Gas Corp.; Office of Thrift Supervision; PriMerit Bank ST: Nevada IN: FIN UTI SU:

JL-LM -- SD006 -- 6325 11/18/93 18:35 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 18, 1993
Words:350
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