Only six Florida banks take TARP funds so far
Wake up and good morning. It's time to update where all that bailout money is going and... by the way, is much of it going to Florida-based companies? The U.S. Treasury confirmed on Tuesday that 43 banks received $14.8-billion from the government's $700-billion financial rescue fund on Jan. 9, bringing total disbursements to date to $271.7-billion. Here's Treasury's complete list of banks receiving TARP -- Troubled Asset Relief Program -- funds.
And here's the update on Florida banking companies in the TARP program. Just six, so far, have participated and received funding (though Coastal Banking Co., noted below, does not seem sure whether it's based in Florida or South Carolina). Total funds received: $1,413,100,000 or $1.4-billion and change. That's less than 1 percent of the fund provided banks nationwide. Most of the TARP funds, of course, are concentrated in the coffers of a few mega-sized banks like Bank of America, Citigroup and JP MorganChase.
In chronological order, here are the six Florida banks that received TARP funds and any public statements they have made about their decisions to do so.
Nov. 21: CenterState Banks of Florida in Davenport ($27,875,000). The bank made not statement on its TARP funding.
“Though we are already in a strong capital position, we believe that participating in the TARP
program is in the best interest of the company, our shareholders and the communities we serve. It is an extremely low cost source of funds that provides our company with insurance capital in a time of great uncertainty. As responsible managers of taxpayer capital, our plan is to use the additional funding to make prudent loans to creditworthy individuals and businesses in our local communities and markets, work with troubled borrowers and support the bank’s broader strategic growth and community service initiatives.”
"We are pleased to have been selected to participate in this voluntary program which has been designed to stabilize our economy and financial markets by providing additional resources to banks to expand their lending activities. This investment by the Treasury provides an attractive and lower cost source of funds to enhance our capital position."
Longe added: "We continue to actively support the financial needs of our customers and communities. In fact, so far this year (2008) we have provided over $150-million of residential mortgages to homeowners and over $90-million of commercial loans to business. The additional capital strength provided through this program will further support our lending activities and the expansion of services into our communities, as well as providing flexibility to evaluate future opportunities that may arise."
"This additional capital will allow us to continue our lending to small and medium sized businesses and consumers, which will assist our local market business owners and consumers as our economy recovers."
Dec. 23: First Community Bank Corp. of America, Pinellas Park ($10,685,000). No public statement on its TARP funding but there is an SEC filing. Also, CEO Ken Cherven (see photo) explains why his bank sought government funding in this interview Monday with the St. Petersburg Times. An excerpt from Cherven:
"We'll continue to lend it out to the community. We've got more than $9-million in new loan approvals in the pipeline. Secondly, we'll use it to buy assets from failed institutions or continue to expand. We have a branch (in St. Petersburg) opening in March. Without this we would have had to slow our growth down; that's why it helps."
(Photo of Ken Cherven by Chris Zuppa of the St. Petersburg Times.)
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist