Bank of America to continue LaSalle's commitment?

Friday, June 1, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Bank of America has entered into an agreement to purchase ABN AMRO North America Holding Company, which owns LaSalle Bank, from ABN AMRO Holding NV, the largest bank in the Netherlands. ABN AMRO on April 23 announced the sale price at $21 billion. Bank of America issued a statement April 25 that it "has a legal contract to acquire ABN AMRO North America" and "expects that contract to be fulfilled under its current terms."
LaSalle Bank has a history of making loans to the security alarm industry, as well as being integral to alarm-industry merger and acquisition activity. At the Barnes Buchanan Conference, held in West Palm Beach in February, former HSM chief executive Jim Covert credited LaSalle with contributing significantly to HSM's success and sale to Stanley Works.
Les Gold, a lawyer with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp who worked on the HSM/Stanley sale, called LaSalle "very, very committed to the industry."
Will a sale to Bank of America affect that commitment? Gold thought not: "I can't believe that would affect their commitment to the industry at all," he said. "I just don't think Bank of America would do that. From our experience, Bank of America has looked at the industry and I think they themselves are very interested in the industry."
Repeated calls to Bank of America did not result in a comment on the issue.
Terry Mullett, chief executive officer at Trans-Alarm (see "Trans-Alarm grows," on page 18.), agrees with Gold that Bank of America will likely not meddle in LaSalle's security lending practice. "LaSalle has been with us since we recapitalized [last year]," said Mullett.
"Their role is as a banker helping us going forward with our corporate development. I see [the acquisition by Bank of America] as nothing more than LaSalle getting bigger and better at what they do. They're deeply committed to the industry. People who I respect in the industry recommended them to us, and that recommendation was a good one in our opinion. So far it's been very easy to work with them, and I don't anticipate that changing."
Gold said that more banks are becoming interested in the alarm industry in general. "I remember when no one was writing [loans] for the industry," he said, "because they were just not interested in cash-flow lending, but banks are learning more and more that [alarm companies are] a very good source of business for them."