Wisconsin-based Guaranty Banks is no more. The bank, with over 100 branches across the country (doing business as Best Bank in Georgia and Michigan), was closed by regulators. About 500 bank employees were laid off. Guaranty Bank is the fifth Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured institution to fail in the U.S. this year.
Guaranty Bank had 119 branches in five states; 107 were in retail outlets, such as grocery and general merchandise stores. The Guaranty branches in retail outlets will not be reopening. The 12 brick-and-mortar locations in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will reopen as branches of First Citizens Bank & Trust Company.
Guaranty Bank, which was overwhelmed by bad loans from the housing crisis, was shut by the Comptroller of the Currency, with the FDIC (which is responsible for insuring bank deposits) appointed as receiver.
The FDIC brokered an agreement for First Citizen, which has over $33.0 billion in assets, to assume all of the deposits of the $1.0-billion-asset Guaranty Bank in Milwaukee, save for the 107 branches in supermarkets and other retail outlets.
No depositors in Guaranty Bank lost money and all deposits assumed by First Citizens will continue to have FDIC deposit insurance coverage.
Reaction from customers was mixed.
“I figure I’ll transfer the money to a bigger bank,” said Mark Desai, a Guaranty Bank customer who decided to close his account. “One that I don’t have to deal with the changes, anything like that.”
“I think the way the transition has taken place, the bank reopened the next day, under the new name, and it’s working fine,” said Mike Speich, a Guaranty Bank customer for more than 20 years. “No, I’m not concerned.”
This marks the second week in a row in which a billion-dollar bank has been closed by regulators.
In late April, four years to the day that the bank went public, shares of First NBC Bank Holding Co. stopped trading after the bank was abruptly closed by state regulators. After being seized, First NBC Bank was acquired by Hancock Holding Co., the parent company of Whitney Bank. The deal included $1.6 billion in deposits and $1.0 billion in assets, including $600.0 million in cash.
“Feds shut down Guaranty Banks due to failure,” WTMJ-TV, May 4, 2017.
“First NBC Bank fails, ordered closed; will be absorbed by Whitney Bank,” The New Orleans Advocate, April 28, 2017.
“Feds close Milwaukee-based Guaranty Bank,” WISN, May 6, 2017.