Friday, July 22, 2011

This Week in Bank Failures

Financial reports from banks this week have held few surprises, aside from a new earnestness from executives about cutting expenses. With tight underwriting stifling demand for loans and consumers fleeing from experiments with new fees, banks will be starting to close branches and other facilities this fall. They won’t be moving quickly because it’s not so easy to tell which places should stay open and which should close.

A billion-dollar bank failed tonight. Bank of Choice was based in Greeley, Colorado, but most of its 17 banking locations were in the Denver area. Bank of Choice had been operating under a prompt corrective action order since March. The bank had bet heavily on commercial real estate development, and struggled to keep its equilibrium after the real estate market cooled. A new president hired last year put more aggressive collection efforts in place, but it made little difference.

Kansas City-based Bank Midwest is taking over the deposits and purchasing 80 percent of the assets. For Bank Midwest, the purchase represents an expansion into an adjacent state. It will be keeping the Bank of Choice name for the Colorado branches. With this acquisition, Bank Midwest’s holding company is planning its first public stock offering.

Two small Florida banks failed tonight. LandMark Bank of Florida had $247 million in deposits and 6 locations in central Florida. SouthShore Community Bank had $45 million in deposits and 2 locations on the mainland side of Tampa Bay. Deposits and assets are being transferred to Tampa-based American Momentum Bank.

The NCUA placed a credit union into conservatorship today. The regulator took control of Saguache County Credit Union, which has 3,000 members in Colorado.