Taylor Bean & Whitaker’s Illinois Bank Seized

Remember Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, the Ocala, Florida mortgage bank that crashed spectacularly last week and was heavily involved with failed Colonial Bank of Birmingham, Alabama? Well they’re not done yet wreaking havoc.

It turns out that Platinum Bank located in Rolling Hills, Illinois was owned by TBW. Platinum Bank was seized by the FDIC yesterday. Here’s the story from the WSJ:

The Illinois connection to Mr. Farkas’ now-bankrupt mortgage banking empire of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. was Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based Platinum Community Bank, which went down Friday with assets of $345.6 million and deposits of $305 million. There was no buyer for Platinum’s assets and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation approved the payout of all insured deposits, a costly outcome for the FDIC.

After acquiring Platinum, located in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, Mr. Farkas sent an email to his staff in October 2008 saying the purchase was “without a doubt the MOST IMPORTANT acquisition we have ever made and offers opportunity for (Taylor Bean) to grow and prosper.” Eventually, he said, Platinum would help “fund new production thereby eliminating funding challenges in the future. And it will lessen our reliance on other banks that have hampered our operations in the past.” He also wrote that it was “imperative” for employees to set up personal bank accounts at Platinum.

Last month Taylor Bean filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of U.S. bankruptcy law. The move came several weeks after federal regulators effectively forced Taylor Bean to close down its lending operations. The Department of Housing and Urban Development accused Taylor Bean of misleading it about a dispute with the company’s auditors over accounting practices and of failing to disclose penalties imposed by state regulators.

I’ve written several times about TBW and their demise. From the outset, I’ve been of the opinion that there was more here than met the eye and this twist just reinforces those thoughts. TBW went down too fast and was too wrapped up with Colonial Bank, which also failed rather spectacularly, for there not to be some sort of massive fraud afoot. What a Florida mortgage company was doing with a bank in Illinois escapes me, but when all these dots get connected (if they get connected) there is going to be one big story.

Fortunately, the WSJ has so far been keeping an eye on TBW. They seem to smell the same thing I do, so let’s hope they keep on it and turn over all the rocks on this one. I suspect that there are a lot of people that won’t want those rocks turned.

more: here, here, here and here (My previous posts)

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