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Bank failures: They don’t happen in a day May 11, 2010

Posted by amyrolph in Stories, Storytelling, The Herald.
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Banks appear to die quickly. Regulators pounce late on Friday afternoons, delivering death sentences under a shroud of secrecy. The institutions are shuttered, sold, reorganized and reopened — all in the space of a few days.

It’s fast. It’s secretive. But it’s a process that often makes perfect sense in retrospect. Looking back, it’s clear that banks don’t fail fast. They languish for months — even years — before finally dying.

I covered two bank closures last month. First, Lynnwood-based City Bank was shut down and immediately sold to another small bank headquartered in Washington state.

Two weeks later, Frontier Bank of Everett was closed and sold to a California-based bank with international ties.

For both banks, the writing was on the wall long before before they landed on the FDIC’s list of failed banks.

This timeline on Dipity.com tracks the slow demise of Frontier Bank, a long-time Everett institution that lost a long battle with bad real estate loans on April 30. Note: At the time this post was published, WordPress.com didn’t support <iframe> tags, which Dipity utilizes. If you’d like to interact with the timeline, just click on the image below.

For a look at City Bank news, see this timeline.

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