By Rachel Pritchett
POULSBO — Once-troubled Liberty Bay Bank of Poulsbo has been
ranked among the safest banks in the nation.
The tiny bank started in 2009 was among 359 of the nation’s
7,300 safest banks determined by a well-known gauge that also has
been used to predict failing banks.
Liberty Bay Bank was among three in Washington that received the
distinction, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal and
The gauge, called the “Texas ratio,” was developed by a banking
analyst in the 1980s and continues to be widely used today. It
divides a banks’ nonperforming loans and distressed-property
holdings by its equity and loan-loss reserves. The top 359 banks,
including Liberty, had a “zero,” or perfect rating. The higher the
number, the more likely the institution is to fail, using the
After opening, Liberty Bank soon found it difficult to find
qualified borrowers. Bill Fogarty, who raised $11.8 million to
start the bank and who became its first president and chief
executive officer, was let go in 2010. Darrow came on in early
2011, promising change.
Kitsap Credit Union, meanwhile, has been named among the top
five credit unions in the Puget Sound area by the Puget Sound
The ranking was in terms of assets, and the Bremerton-based
credit union, with $901 million in assets and 83,507 members, came
Far and away the number-one credit union in the Puget Sound area
was Boeing Employees Credit Union, with nearly $10 billion in
assets and 744,354 members. BECU was followed by Olympia-based
Washington State Employees Credit Union, with $1.7 billion in
assets and 171,037 members. Holding the number-three position was
Sound Credit Union of Tacoma, with $1 billion in assets and 107,793
Behind KCU was School Employees Credit Union of Washington,
based in Seattle, with $858 million in assets and 80,709
Kitsap Credit Union began in 1934, lending money to shipyard
workers. Its foundation of members with steady government jobs
allowed it to grow. Today, it has 17 locations and 326 employees.
It recently announced its intention to acquire Quimper community
Federal Credit Union of Port Townsend.