Former Loan Officer Gets Blame for Seven-Figure Losses

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, May. 3, 2010 12:00 am  

Baldwin also said, "I believe [BancInsure] has an obligation to honor their bonding commitment to the bank." He said Southern decided to sue on behalf of Timberland Bank when BancInsure refused to pay.

Baldwin said if it recovered the $2 million it was seeking, Southern Bancorp would keep the money.

Donald Pratt Jr., an attorney for BancInsure, didn't return a call for comment last week and the company hasn't filed an answer in the case yet.

According to court filings, Timberland officials contacted the FBI in February 2009 and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Fort Smith has been looking into the loans. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Triplett, who was named in the documents as a contact for the investigation, didn't return phone calls from Arkansas Business.

Menefee declined to comment on Turner's actions. But Menefee did say that the loans were being liquidated.

"Over time, we will pay those proceeds to the shareholders," he said.

He said it was too early to tell if the approximately 270 shareholders will receive their investment back.

Baldwin, though, said that Southern Bancorp had made about $1 million so far this year from what was Timberland Bank.

"It has exceeded, by a substantial amount, all of our expectations," he said. "The team from Timberland, most of them are still there, and are doing a fantastic job."


'I Was to Be the Hunter'

In September 2000, Timberland Bank started in a 9,000-SF office in the Entergy building in El Dorado.



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