John Hielscher
First bank failure in years happens in Pittsburgh
Thu Mar 1, 2007 21:25

First bank failure in years happens in Pittsburgh

The streak is over.

After nearly 21/2 years without a bank failure, a small Pennsylvania bank collapsed this month.

Metropolitan Savings Bank of Pittsburgh was closed by its state banking department. About $12 million in deposits were assumed by Allegheny Valley Bank of Pittsburgh.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Metropolitan had about $1.2 million in deposits in 70 accounts that could exceed the federal insurance limit.

The last bank failure occurred in June 2004, the longest period without a failure since the FDIC was formed in 1934.

A Miami bank analyst had suggested earlier that bank regulators would strive to save Bradenton's troubled Coast Bank of Florida so it wouldn't break the no-failure streak.

The last bank failure in Florida was Miami's Hamilton Bank in 2002.

The bank, which had a branch in Sarasota, was liquidated by the FDIC, but some large depositors didn't get all their money back.

Hamilton's chairman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a fraud scheme that falsely inflated the bank's earnings to bolster its stock price.

Sarasota Coastal aligns with Breiter

The Sarasota Coastal Credit Union has aligned with Breiter Capital Management to provide investment services for some members.

Breiter, based on Anna Maria Island, will focus on middle to high net-worth members of the credit union.

President Tom Breiter and vice president Joe Downs each will manage the investment portfolios of clients.

Sarasota Coastal has provided financial advisory services to its middle-income members, but it said demand for investment advice was growing from members approaching retirement and those planning to build nest eggs.

Breiter founded his firm in 1992 and employs the skill-weighted portfolio methodology.

Sarasota Coastal also announced a long-term financial commitment to support the largest of the six theaters at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.

Saldana to heard R-G Crown

R-G Crown Bank has appointed Rafael Saldana as president.

Saldana was most recently executive vice president and business development manager at the Casselberry-based thrift, which has branches in Sarasota and Englewood.

He replaces Rolando Rodriguez, who remains CEO of the bank as well as president/CEO of parent company R & G Financial.

BoA looking at Countrywide?

Bank of America is downplaying speculation that it is interested in buying Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender.

London's Financial Times recently reported that Bank of America, the nation's second-largest bank and the biggest in Florida, was in talks with Countrywide about forging an alliance that would create a mortgage lending behemoth.

But CEO Kenneth Lewis said that while the bank wants to sell more mortgages, it isn't attracted to the mortgage industry's business model.

Countrywide is likely to sell, says Florida bank analyst Richard Bove of Punk Ziegel & Co., and may already be accepting offers. He believes B of A might be a bidder.

"The bank continually indicates that it wants to be No. 1 in virtually every aspect of domestic banking," Bove said. "It has clearly indicated that it wants to be No. 1 in the mortgage sector."

Lewis also said it's unlikely the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank would buy a smaller rival this year.

The bank already holds 9 percent of U.S. bank deposits. Federal law bars it from holding more than 10 percent.

To contact John Hielscher, call 361-4875, fax him at 361-4880 or send an e-mail to .



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