Nine Utah branches of Sandia Federal Savings and Loan Association have been sold to Zions First National Bank, according to Bob Ruska, a Resolution Trust Corp. official.

The sale was finalized late Friday. Sandia had been held in conservatorship by Resolution Trust for approximately the past year while a buyer was found. RTC is a federally chartered corporation whose purpose is to manage failed savings associations and recover funds through the ultimate sale of the institutions' assets.Sandia is a federally chartered savings and loan institution headquartered in New Mexico. Zions First National Bank purchased only the Utah branches, according to RTC officials.

Sandia's Utah operations hold $75 million in deposits. Zions is acquiring $437,000 in loans secured by deposits. Ruska reported Zions First National Bank paid a $675,000 premium for the nine branches.

Harris H. Simmons, president and CEO of Zions, indicated that services to Sandia Federal customers will continue without interruption. Simmons said branches will reopen Monday and will operate according to normal schedules. All deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC.

There are two Sandia offices in Salt Lake City. Branches are also located in Clearfield, Murray, Orem, Ogden, Logan, Centerville and Payson.

Simmons noted that Zions has acquired two failed savings and loans in less than a year. In June 1990 it acquired the 13 offices of Deseret Federal S&L Association.

Sale of the New Mexico operations to Bank of America New Mexico, NA (Bank of America) was also approved by the RTC. Ruska said the acquirers' combined bids were determined by the RTC to be the least costly of the seven proposals submitted to the agency.