Tag Archives: American Marine Bank

Two dozen American Marine employees out of work

As many as 24 employees of the failed American Marine Bank have lost their jobs or resigned since late January, when Columbia State Bank took over the Bainbridge Island-based institution.

Rachel Pritchett reports in today’s Sun that the departures represent about 20 percent of American Marine’s work force. Most of those who left were administrators or managers at the bank’s Winslow Way headquarters.

Most of the American Marine’s tellers and rank-and-file staffers at the bank’s other 11 branches were offered jobs with Columbia State last month.

For more, click here.

American Marine’s failure hits home

In another followup story about American Marine’s failure, Sun business reporter Rachel Pritchett touched on what the bank meant to some of the island’s prominent businesses.

Here’s a bit:

“American Marine has been our bank since Day 1,” said Larry Nakata, president of Town & County Markets Inc. Regularly during the past 52 years, his company got American Marine loans as it expanded its premium grocery stores off the island into Poulsbo and greater Seattle.

Winslow Paint Company owner Mary Hall remembers that it was former American Marine CEO Bess Alpaugh who believed in her and Ken Schuricht when they took over Winslow Hardware in 1994. The bank didn’t forget them later when they opened Winslow Paint Company on Hildebrand Lane.

“We’re very, very, very connected with them,” Hall said.

Rachel also spoke with the widow of American Marine’s founder, Lou Goller, who opened the bank in 1948.

“He would have been horrified, certainly,” said 94-year-old Gloria Goller when asked how her husband would have felt about the failure of the bank. “Old faithful gone bad.”

So, how come Columbia State Bank is doing so well?

This week’s acquisition of faltering American Marine Bank by Tacoma’s Columbia State Bank has begged a big question from some of American Marine’s customers: What was Columbia State doing right that American Marine was doing wrong?

The short answer is that Columbia State had a diversified investment base that, unlike American Marine, was not overly dependent on real estate.

Columbia State also managed to increase its capital at a time when other banks, like American Marine, were hemorrhaging it.

Here’s what Brad Williamson, director of the state Department of Financial Institution’s Division of Banks, had to say about that:

“Columbia’s had great success raising capital which in the current environment speaks really well of them. As for our large banks, I expect them to come out of this banking situation stronger than they went into it.”

Columbia State also appears to have a strong leader in CEO Melanie Dressel, who was three times named one of the nation’s 25 most powerful female bankers by U.S. Banker magazine.

That’s the short answer. For more, see business reporter Rachel Pritchett’s story here.

More on American Marine’s closure

Meegan M. Reid photo

I noticed on Sunday that Columbia State Bank banners were already covering the American Marine name at the Winslow Way branch. State troopers were guarding the doors while federal regulators continued with the closure and transfer process.

A quick scan of the headlines today shows that American Marine’s closure made national – even international news – with the Wall Street Journal, MSN, Fox News, New York Times, and news outlets in Germany, Argentina, Malaysia and Russia reporting on it.

According to the Seattle Times, American Marine was among six banks that closed nationwide on Friday. Fifteen banks have been shut down since the beginning of the year.

The other two Washington-based banks that failed in this month are Bellingham’s Horizon Bank and Seattle’s Evergreen Bank.

For a timeline of American Marine’s rise and fall, click below.

Continue reading

American Marine Bank shut down by federal regulators

Longtime Bainbridge institution American Marine Bank was shut down by federal and state regulators today.

Founded on the island 62 years ago, American Marine has suffered severe loan losses in recent years.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has turned the bank over to new owner Columbia State Bank of Tacoma.

American Marine branches will reopen under the Columbia State name either Saturday or Monday, regulators said in a news release.

Read the story here.

And go to American Marine’s website for a statement from the FDIC

American Marine smarts after taking a $20 million hit

Bainbridge-based American Marine Bank is suffering from nearly $20 million in losses during the first part of 2009. The cause: several real estate loans – mostly to home builders and developers – that fell into default.

Predicting that 2009 was going to be a tough year, the bank began laying off about a dozen people and reduced employee hours.

“Our problems are focused on a specific number (of) loans,” President and Chief Executive Officer Renzo Lucioni told Sun business reporter Rachel Pritchett.

For more, read Pritchett’s story here.