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Former Continental Officers Planning Reunion

March 11, 1987

CHICAGO (AP) _ Former officers of Continental Illinois National Bank & Trust Co. will have a chance to swap war stories from the era of the bank’s near-collapse in 1984 at an unorthodox reunion later this month.

″There are a a number of top executives who have done well,″ said organizer Gert-Ulrich Schoengart, a former properties development officer with Continental.

An evening of cocktails and conversation at a downtown club on March 27 will allow them to catch up with each others’ activities, said Schoengart, who has his own market research firm.

The very top former executives, many of whom retired after leaving Continental, have not been invited, he said.

But a few former high-level managers are planning to attend, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, including Alex J. Pollock, president of Marine Bank, Milwaukee’s third largest bank. He was in charge of strategic planning at Continental.

Hideki Terada, a former Continental officer and now vice president at Harris Trust & Savings Bank, said he and several others who work for Harris are planning to go.

″I am really looking forward to attending the party,″ he said. ″It was a very good bank, and we enjoyed working there.″

Sergio J. Uccetta, senior vice president at Household Financial Services, based in Mount Prospect, said, ″You usually don’t have corporate reunions like this.

″This will be an opportunity to renew acquaintances. They all are top- caliber folks,″ said Uccetta, who had been in charge of Continental’s coporate marketing and competitive analysis until he left in late spring 1982.

Schoengart, who said his own departure from Continental in 1983 had little to do with the crisis that would strike in 1984, said he doesn’t understand the fuss about the reunion, since it is ″just a family gathering.″

But, he said, ″the bank had some really top-notch people. I think it needs some good publicity. It is such a good bank.″

Continental’s crisis began on May 8, 1984, after a small news service in Japan reported a liquidity crisis at the institution, America’s seventh- largest bank, which had a virtually flawless reputation.

The report touched off the largest bank run in history, leading to a $1.16 billion loss. The corporation survived through a multibillion-dollar federal rescue effort and billions of dollars in loans from the Federal Reserve Bank and a consortium of 28 banks.

Continental’s problems stemmed in part from loans purchased from the failed Penn Square Bank of Oklahoma City and from a strategy of lending aggressively to the energy industry in the late 1970s.

Many of the bank’s managers left at the time the institution’s troubles were developing, and as a condition of the rescue package, new management was named.

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