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Midland Shareholders Angry Over Money-Losing Crocker Bank

May 3, 1985

LONDON (AP) _ Midland Bank’s chairman, Sir Donald Barron, came under heavy fire at the annual shareholders’ meeting today because of the group’s troubled California subsidiary, Crocker National Bank.

Midland has a 57 per cent stake in Crocker, and plans to buy the rest, although the San Francisco-based bank lost $20 million in 1983 and more than $300 million last year. Shareholders demanded to know who had been responsible for what one described as ″the disastrous decision″ to buy the Crocker stake.

Nearly 300 shareholders crammed into the bank’s headquarters in the financial district of London for the annual meeting.

The chairman said he could not guarantee there would not be further bad debt provision at Crocker, but added that general provisions made last year would help to deal with any further problems in its loan book.

The decision to acquire the original Crocker stake had been made after the proper procedures and after the bank had taken professional advice and studied the reports of the banking regulatory authorities, Barron said.

One shareholder told him, ″It looks to me as if Crocker will be a continuing loss-maker for many years.″ The shareholder said investors needed to know Crocker’s prospects because they did not want to throw good money after bad, ″but that is what you may be asking.″

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