smart spending

List of failed banks: numbskull nation

Jay MacDonald I was scrolling through Bankrate's 2009 list of failed banks the other day. It's sort of like reading a high school yearbook that only pictures the delinquents and dropouts.

My reason was strictly personal. Having had two banks shot out from under me in the past year, I am shopping for a financial institution that will last longer than grocery store yogurt.

If you haven't checked out our loser list yet, you should. For me, it set off the kind of mental gymnastics that P.E. teachers frequently fail to warn you about ahead of time.

For instance, of the 94 banks that bit the dust this year, seven of them had "Security" as their first name.

Seven! As their FIRST name!

“Looking closer at this rogue's gallery, some of these puppies seemed preordained to fail.”

In my view, these numbskulls should be forced to reopen for a period of not less than 18 months as Insecurity Bank under the truth-in-lending laws before the FDIC auctions them. In fact, let's make it Insecurity Bank & Distrust.

What would be a fitting penance for Integrity Bank of Jupiter, Fla.? How about a couple of winter seasons as Seedy and Seditious Savings?

Looking closer at this rogue's gallery, some of these puppies frankly seemed preordained to fail.

For instance, take Cape Fear Bank in Wilmington, N.C. Fear is not a word I want associated with my bank in any context. (Note to self: Check to see if the tellers had F-E-A-R tattooed on their knuckles.)

Teambank in Paola, Kan., doesn't work for me either, unless they're willing to toss some of their own dough into my money market account. Now that would be teamwork, Teambank.

Rock River Bank in Oregon, Ill., sounds like they forgot the rock-paper-scissors game. Or the route my golfball usually takes.

Mirae Bank of Los Angeles sounds like a sushi joint.

Strategic Capital Bank of Champaign, Ill., just sounds like they're up to something.

Know the way to Thermopolis?

But hey, I can understand and even sympathize with some of these failures.

Take the Bank of Wyoming in Thermopolis. I happen to know my way around the state of Wyoming and even I can't locate Thermopolis on a map. My guess is it's out where there are more bucks and does than banks and dough.

I do feel sorry for Affinity Bank of Ventura, Calif. There are probably a total of 120 screenwriters in the Ventura vortex who even know what the word "affinity" means and most of them are insolvent.

And poor eBank of Atlanta. Looks like they didn't even stay in business long enough to get their full name up on the building before the feds pulled their license.

We should pause here and give a shout-out to the Peach State. They placed No. 1 in 2009 with a whopping 18 bank failures so far. I won't speculate as to why that is because I don't have sufficient room in my inbox. Suffice to say that the last time I banked in Georgia, my branch manager was the weird banjo-playing kid from "Deliverance."

Having fully digested the banking hall of shame, only one of these losers still baffles, confounds and perplexes me.

First Bank of Beverly Hills.

Think "swimming pools" and "movie stars."

WHAT? Jed Clampett's bank? What have you done, Mr. Drysdale? Miss Hathaway?

Forget finding a new bank. I'm sticking with Krugerrands and gift cards.

If you have a comment or suggestion about this column, write to Bank Shots.

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