Centennial Bank Looks to Bag More FDIC Transactions This Year

by George Waldon  on Monday, May. 3, 2010 12:00 am  

Randy Sims, CEO of Home BancShares and its Centennial Bank: "We're still on the hunt."

Week-to-week, it's uncertain what banks the FDIC will make a decision on.

"It's really pretty crazy," Sims said "You don't know when the banks are coming out, and you don't have any time to do much due diligence. Within a couple of days, you have to be ready to go. You just don't know."

In the case of Old Southern, Centennial Bank was notified it had posted the winning bid on a Monday afternoon. By the end of the week, its transition team was in the field prepared for the bank closing Friday evening.

The pre-closing assembly takes place at a location of the FDIC's choosing, which resembled a paramilitary raid in the case of Old Southern or a party-crashing crew in the case of Key West.

Centennial's two assisted transactions were launched physically from the rendezvous points of a seedy garage in Orlando and an undisclosed bar in Key West. Allison was on the ground for both operations.

"At least you could order a drink at the Key West location," he quipped.

Centennial Bank personnel joined a mixed force of cops, state bank regulators and FDIC staffers before going mobile to arrive at the banks in time for the close of business on Friday.

Here's how these things are handled in Florida:

Accompanied by a contingency of state troopers, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation opens the show by pronouncing the institution insolvent and now under FDIC receivership.

The mission baton is passed to the FDIC team, which informs bank employees they will be working for the agency over the weekend to help close the financial books. And yes, the bank employees receive a check from the FDIC for their two-day stint as government workers.

The federal regulators also announce that the bank has been sold and introduce the "acquiring institute," which will reopen the business under a new name and new management come Monday morning.

"I didn't know what an AI was when all this started," Allison said. "But I'm glad to be one."



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