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Banking & Finance

Woodlands Bank Making Progress on OTS Orders

Fri. Oct. 2, 2009 - Rumors of the demise of Woodlands Bank are unfounded, according to Max Crowe, president and founder of the thrift institution that entered the market Jan. 7, 2007, first opening in Bluffton, S.C., and then expanding to North Carolina and Savannah.
Locally, the bank has an office on Mall Blvd, with Howard Bowden as market president and Michelle Green as team leader at the Savannah southside branch. The bank's former Pooler office has been closed.
On July 16, the Office of Thrift Supervision of the U.S. Treasury Department issued an Order to Cease and Desist, requiring the bank to raise more capital along with other administrative changes, summarized Crowe in an interview today.
"It's a process of looking to correct the capital issues, given the economy," he said. There are also benchmarks for administrative changes that the OTS is seeking, as well. "Our problems are a direct result of the economy."
Woodlands is a "thrift" institution, similar to what were formerly called savings & loans. Deposits are FDIC insured, similar to a bank. To enter the market, Crowe bought an existing South Carolina thrift.
He's very optimistic about the bank's future, as it approaches three years old in January 2010.
"We're raising capital. We plan on making it to 30 years," he said. No management changes were announced or required by the OTS.
On July 16, the board of the bank agreed to improve the bank's operating plan, increase capital and to stop "operating the Association with an excessive level of nonresidential real estate loans; construction loans, second and third mortgage land loans; third mortgage loans secured by multi-family properties; and
non-mortgage loans (hereinafter referred to as "non-homogenous loans"), and adversely classified and delinquent loans relative to the association's capital and allowance for loan and lease losses."
The bank also agreed to improve its loan review system.
The OTS order states that by Dec. 31, 2009, the bank has to improve its cash ratio to equal to or greater than eight percent and a total risk-based capital ratio equal to or greater than 12 percent. Crowe said he is very optimistic that the goals will be achieved.
By Sept.30, 2009, the board had to prepare and submit for regional director review and comment a written plan to achieve and maintain the association's capital at the levels required, and submit other plans for required changes. "We are in full compliance," according to Crowe, who said that the Sept.30, 2009 deadlines were all met.
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