Report card shows Washington banks on road to financial health

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @cjingalls

KING5.com

Posted on March 8, 2013 at 8:37 PM

The latest numbers from the state show that Washington’s banks are on the road to financial health.

The Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) says 65% of the banks it regulates now have “satisfactory” ratings.  DFI has authority over state-chartered banks, which make up the majority of banks in the State.

DFI says the numbers are a flip flop from three years ago. In 2009, 69% of banks had “unsatisfactory” ratings. 

The banks are evaluated based on their finances and management.  Each bank’s rating is a closely guarded secret.

First Sound Bank, based in downtown Seattle, is a shining example of the turnaround.  One year ago it was on the brink of collapse.

“I think it was the most troubled bank in the State at one time,” said First Sound president and CEO Pat Fahey.

Fahey took the reins in January of last year and began the process of wiping more than $40 million dollars of bad loans off the bank’s books.

Last month First Sound reached a milestone when it completed the “repurchase of TARP preferred securities.”  In essence, the bank paid back the nearly $4 million in bailout money it owed taxpayers.

“This is a new lease on life for the bank,” said Fahey.

 

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