Some of the usual suspects have dutifully noted the closure of $1.1 billion in assets Integrity Bank of Alpharetta, Georgia (weirdly, the links at the Wall Street Journal to two stories lead only to “Page Not Available”).
The plot is already familiar: the Friday night, FDIC prepack, in this case, with Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions bank assuming all $974 million of deposits and $34 million of assets. The New York Times reported that the bank focused on real estate lending and had a “faith based culture”. The results suggest that they might have relied overmuch on divine intervention at the expense of due diligence.
Now let’s get to the juicy bit. As Bloomberg noted:
Banks are being closed at the fastest pace in 14 years as financial companies report more than $505 billion in writedowns and credit losses since 2007…..
Regions will buy about $34.4 million in assets and will pay the FDIC a premium of 1.01 percent to assume the failed bank’s deposits, the FDIC said. The FDIC estimates the cost of the Integrity failure to its deposit-insurance fund will be $250 million to $300 million.
$250 to $300 million of losses for a mere $1.1 billion in assets bank? As reader Steve A noted:
Today’s failure of the amusingly named Integrity Bank of Alpharetta, GA, confirms two very ugly trends: once again, FDIC was only able to pass cash and cash-equivalents to the assuming bank, and the FDIC’s loss estimate is extremely high ($250M – $350M on $1.1B of assets). I don’t have hard numbers handy but I seem to recall that receivership losses in the range of 25% – 35% were unusual in the commercial bank failures of the late 80’s. I could be wrong, but the numbers this year are extremely high. FDIC’s expected losses certainly make me wonder what on earth the bank examiners were doing for the last year besides critiquing the bank’s coffee and color scheme.
Now given that the bank was only eight years old and may have have used its religious positioning to hide some less-than-upstanding practices, the magnitude of the bust may reflect fraud, and well executed fraud harder to detect than good old fashioned recklessness or shoddy controls.
I’d love to learn more about what went awry here, but his story will probably slip beneath the radar as failures continue apace.