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LOS ANGELES-One of the biggest lending institutions still headquartered in Southern California agreed to be acquired Wednesday by Michigan-based Comerica Inc. in a stock-swap valued at $1.25 billion, while two other major lenders in the Southland saw the value of their shares drop after they were downgraded by a key Wall Street analyst.

In the merger deal, Imperial Bancorp—-one of the largest banks still headquartered in Southern California—-agreed to be acquired by Comerica Inc. in a transaction that will give Imperial shareholders 0.46 share of Comerica stock for each share of Imperial. Inglewood-based Imperial has $7.4 billion in assets and 15 branches in the West, 12 of which are in Southern California.

Comerica is the nation’s 24th largest bank. It has $41 billion in assets, thanks in part to its focus on commercial lending.

The combined bank will be the fourth-largest in California and the 19th largest in the United States. Detroit-based Comerica has been aggressively expanding on the West Coast for more than a year, while Imperial’s stock was hit by loan-loss worries in the spring but since has rebounded.

Separately, influential PaineWebber market analyst Gary Gordon dropped his recommendation on the shares of Washington Mutual and Golden West Financial to a “neutral” from “attractive.” Though Washington Mutual is based in Seattle and Golden West is headquartered in Oakland, both have huge shares of the Southern California market.

Analyst Gordon says his downgrading has little to do with the future of the Southland’s real estate market. Instead, he says, the recent downturn in long-term mortgages rates could hurt both institution’s profits because both derive a large part of their income from making adjustable-rate mortgages—-and ARMs tend to lose favor when fixed interest rates decline.

Washington Mutual’s shares dropped 1-1/16 Wednesday to 42-15/16, following a nearly $2-a-share decline the day before. Shares of Golden West Financial, parent of World Savings, fell 2-7/16 to 53-5/8 after a 56-cents-a-share decline a day earlier.

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