Occupy Miami Protesters Should Take Their Signs Over to U.S. Century Bank's Doral HQ
If Occupy Miami protesters are angry about out-of-control banks taking and mismanaging money from the public coffers, then perhaps they should move their protest to the parking lot of U.S. Century Bank's headquarters out in Doral. The bank received $50.2 million in TARP assets in 2009, but ProPublica reports that it now sits on the brink of collapse, thanks in large part to insider loans it made to its own directors and officers -- that many used to gamble on speculative real estate deals. It's basically the perfect example of the one percent run amok in Miami.
In 2009, U.S. Century, a bank that has only existed since 2002, was awarded $50.2 from the Trouble Assets Relief Program. That's more than any other bank in Florida. That money was part of a program to support healthy banks, but ProPublica says that at the time U.S. Century was far from healthy.
Pulitizer-prize winner (and Miami New Times alum), Jake Bernstein writes over at ProPublica:
The rise and fall of U.S. Century, while certainly more extreme than most banks, exemplifies the fast-and-loose banking culture that led to the financial crisis, which continues to drag down the global economy. It also epitomizes both the failure to regulate the banking sector during the pre-crisis boom years and the slipshod approach to the bailout that followed the bust. Above all, it's about losers and winners. The losers are taxpayers and local residents grappling with the ill effects of suburban sprawl. The winners appear to be a group of wealthy and politically connected businessmen who created a bank that served as their own corporate ATM, funneling tens of millions of dollars to ventures in which they had a stake.
The bank was finally hit by a massive consent order by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. after regulators wised up to the actual unhealthiness of the bank.
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Mostly that banks woes were a result of those "insider loans" made to bank officers and members of the board of directors.
News of the insider loans are nothing new. In 2009, New Times reported that the bank had "more outstanding insider loans than any other banking institution in Florida."
Many of those loans were then used to fuel development deals, many which were located in the western area of the county Several people connected to Century, unsurprisingly, have been advocated of pushing back the urban development line. Problem was, like so many real estate deals in South Florida in the past decade, those plans ended up a bust.
So forget Wall Street;if you're looking for a tale of banker's bad business and greed you don't have to look much further than 2301 NW 87th Avenue in Doral.
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