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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Housing slump stings area banks.

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Blogger Bob said...

Housing slump stings area banks
Six from Twin Cities among 20 in the U.S. most exposed to failing construction loans
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 11/12/2007 11:28:19 PM CST

An intensifying housing recession is zapping community banks across the Twin Cities - not with belly-up mortgages, but with failing construction loans for the housing behind them.

Since homebuyers slammed on the brakes, developers, builders and families across the region have been defaulting on construction loans for all manner of new housing, leaving community banks holding the bag.

Six of the 20 most-exposed banks in the country, ranked by the percent of overall bank assets that are in nonperforming construction loans, are based in the Twin Cities, according to New York-based investment rating agency Ratings. Nonperforming means the loans are unlikely to be repaid.

They are: Key Community Bank in Inver Grove Heights, Vision Bank in St. Louis Park, Citizens State Bank in Hudson, Wis., Community National Bank in North Branch, BankCherokee in St. Paul and Lake Community Bank in Long Lake.

Industry observers aren't predicting any collapses, but community banks are struggling to work through the mess. After all, development deals became a bread-and-butter business for many of the small guys during the housing boom. It's not clear how many more shaky construction loans are coming due. With many developers and builders in dire straights, the banks are changing course, with some targeting other commercial lending.

Failing construction loans at the six Twin Cities community banks ranged between 3.6 percent to 5.2
percent of the banks' total assets in the second quarter, according to Philip van Doorn, The Ratings bank analyst who ranked the banks nationally based on call reports filed each quarter with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which regulates banks.

Those are high concentrations of nonperforming assets - one FDIC official called the percentages "extreme" - although they represent just $37 million. By comparison, the ratio of nonperforming construction loans to total assets for all banks nationally was 0.06 percent in the second quarter.

"I've been in the business 40 years, and I've not seen it like this," said Gene Haberman, president of Citizens State Bank in Hudson, which has $201 million in assets and nearly $10 million in construction loans unlikely to be repaid. "It was like a line was drawn in the sand, and all the building stopped. No one was prepared for that."

Nonperforming loans either are in default or have stopped accruing interest, but van Doorn's nonperforming count also likely includes many loans in foreclosure. Construction loans include commercial and residential construction.

To be sure, Citizens State Bank and the others are not failing and remain well capitalized, according to van Doorn's review. They all have tier-one leverage ratios - roughly a bank's core capital as a percent of total assets minus some liabilities - above the FDIC's required 5 percent.

Still, the high concentrations are troubling, particularly since the housing recession doesn't appear to have hit bottom and could worsen as more loans come due. Four of the six banks lost money in the second quarter, some because they beefed up loan loss provisions. At the very least, the failing loans and housing recession spell a rough patch for community banks as they change the way they do business.

"While all are still well capitalized per regulatory guidelines, several are facing the prospect of having to raise more capital if construction and commercial mortgage loan quality continues to decline. All depositors in these banks should take an interest in what's going on, especially those with deposits exceeding $100,000," van Doorn said in an interview.

Haberman and the other bankers insist customers have no need to worry. They're working with their construction borrowers, they said, and the loans pose no threat to financial stability. They dismiss the trouble as a market issue.

"Is it concerning to us? Obviously. Is it an issue of solvency? Absolutely not," Haberman said. "The good news is it is real estate, and it ain't going away. We have collateral."

Heidi Gesell, president and chief executive of BankCherokee in St. Paul, agreed. Construction loans are just 12 percent of the bank's assets, Gesell said.

"We're staying ahead of issues in the market in terms of these loans," Gesell said. "We've seen the low point in terms of our income for the year. I think we're on the way back up."

Haberman and Marshall MacKay, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota, say banks may have become too casual with their real estate underwriting.

"I guess the obvious answer has to be yes, because if we knew what we now know, we would have put bigger margins in," Haberman said. "We followed traditional guidelines."

Others disagree standards got lax. The bankers didn't predict how quickly the high-cycle would end, they say.

That Citizens State Bank in Hudson popped out near the top of the list speaks to how the construction loan problems cut across a range of community banks. BankCherokee, Lake Community Bank (formerly State Bank of Long Lake) and Citizens State Bank all are 100-year-old institutions, not the kind of startup banks one might expect to be more vulnerable.

Such as Vision Bank. With assets of just $25 million, the St. Louis Park bank opened in 2005 specifically to fund commercial real estate deals. Brian Weimer, Vision's chief executive, said most of his trouble is one group loan, called a participation loan, that Vision Bank joined to finance a housing development that isn't in the construction phase yet. He wouldn't name the project.

Bad construction loans led Key Community Bank in Inver Grove Heights last year to shut down a residential real estate finance division it opened five years ago and cut back sharply on new housing construction loans. As of June, it still had about $4.6 million in bad construction loans. David Bjerknes, Key's senior vice president, said the bank has been "very effectively" working through the process to secure its collateral.

At Lake Community Bank, President Michael Byrne says, "we're not going to make money this year." Last year, loans tied to residential real estate made up 54 percent of the bank's assets. It's shuffling its deck, aiming for more business in commercial construction and other business lending. "I think this year we're going to recognize everything and we'll be making money next year."

The troubles of another bank in the group are well known. Community National Bank in North Branch made headlines in July for its $35 million group loan to late developer Bruce Nedegaard for his failed Ramsey Town Center housing development. An attorney for that bank blamed the Ramsey Town Center deal for the bank's high concentration of bad construction loans.

FDIC regulators say they can't explain the cluster of failing construction loans in the Twin Cities. Federal banking regulators last year urged caution to small and midsized banks in managing risk.

John Anderlik, regional manager of the FDIC's Division of Insurance and Research in Kansas City, Mo., whose territory includes Minnesota, acknowledged the ratios of the Twin Cities group are "pretty high." But he called them "bank specific issues."

As a whole, banks across the Twin Cities remain very well capitalized, he said.

"That's a pretty strong mitigating factor, even given the extreme ratios on this list," he said.

Jennifer Bjorhus can be reached at or 651-228-2146.


Six Twin Cities banks have landed near the top of a ranking of banks for nonperforming construction loans as a percent of total assets:

-- Key Community Bank, Inver Grove Heights

-- Vision Bank, St. Louis Park

-- Citizens State Bank, Hudson, Wis.

-- Community National Bank, North Branch

-- BankCherokee, St. Paul

-- Lake Community Bank, Long Lake

6:53 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

This is what Chuck and I have been saying for months.

Now, I'm waiting to see how you tie this in to your law suit or city corruption.

Eric M.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More Money PLEASE

The EXCEL Center

Date Built 2000
Ownership(Minnesota Hockey Venture Group, LP)
Cost of Construction $130 million

Norm Coleman and Dave Thune and the 6 other council people were in on the ????
Just like the Twins Ball Park that is under construction, how many of there council people were caught taking bribes? 2
The City Council of Saint Paul kept excusing payments on the loan. Finally the City of St. Paul took over the ownership.

Pay Backs are HELL, For The Tax Payers

Minnesota Wild Unveil Design for New Saint Paul Arena
SAINT PAUL, Min., June 17 (PRNewswire) -- The National Hockey League's (NHL) Minnesota Wild unveiled their arena design plans for the New Saint Paul Arena at a press conference today at the Minnesota Club in downtown Saint Paul. The principal individuals of the arena project team include: Minnesota Wild CEO Jac Sperling, Wild Arena Project Director Ray Chandler, HOK Sport Design Principal Chris Carver, City of Saint Paul Council President Daniel B. Bostrom, River Centre Authority Chairman Richard Zehring, City of Saint Paul Director of Planning and Economic Development Pamela Wheelock, and City of Saint Paul Special Projects - Program Administrator Department of Planning and Economic Development Jim O'Leary. Wild CEO Jac Sperling and the other members of the arena project team revealed the exterior and interior design plans for the new, multi-purpose arena.

At the press conference, the Minnesota Wild revealed a number of the New Saint Paul Arena design features. Highlights included:

18,600 seat arena with a transparent glass exterior.
Four convenient atrium entrances at street level.
Wide concourses.
Open concourses.
Large lower seating bowl with 9,000 seats.
Upper deck with opera style seating at the ends offering great hockey sightlines.

Unique club seating concourse and 64 suites.
Arena lighting to accentuate the Saint Paul skyline.
In conjunction with the arena design, the Minnesota Wild will host a Historic New Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony on Tuesday, June 23rd at 11:30 a.m. on 7th Street (between 5th Street and Kellogg Boulevard) in front of the old Saint Paul Civic Center. The Minnesota Wild will showcase several special VIP guests for the fun-filled ceremony including: Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson, Saint Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, Wild lead investor Bob Naegele, Jr. and a special participant from the NHL. The New Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony is free and open to the public. The Minnesota Wild invite you to join us on this historic day.

Visit the Minnesota Wild on the Internet at

Dig in the pockets of the elderly that will never us the center in their life.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:18 There once was a time when cities built auditoriums and stadiums for the public to sit and enjoy entertainment and it was entirely financed by city tax dollars. Today, the stadiums and arenas are much fancier because our standards have changed but it isn't any different than 2,000 years ago.

The Xcel Center was financed 1/3 by the state 1/3 by the city and 1/3 by the owners of the Wild. The arena itself is a money loser. The City never made money out of the Civic Center when they owned it. That pig costed a fortune to heat and that roof you can't imagine!

The determination was made that it was cheaper in the long run to let the owners of the Wild run it, then having the City do it.

And I am sorry if you think someone got paid off on it, I missed that one. There just aint the money changing hands like you would like to believe.


Chuck Repke
Staff to the Council President and HRA Chair when the deal was approved.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Sharon Anderson said...

Chuck today you got your forgivable loan and I got Tax Statement with 20.5%change Dec.3rd Records and Revenue moving to 90 Plato Blvd.W St. Paul,MN 651-266-2000 ISN'T THAT TROOIN'S PROPERTY?

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Repke thats right we know you didn't get any money because after the xcel was built your house still looked like a shit hole!
I want your rental out of our neighborhood.You don't live there and you rented to a bunch of dead-beats.

Your neighbor

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:06 pm
Tell Repke where to go, he thinks that his buddy Dave's butt smell like roses, and Repke like having his head so far up these city council's rumps that another 1/2 dozen sweet rose smelling rumps. ex council aide smelling rump of Dave. Dave's "F"iend REPke gets non repayable loans from the city,
We the tax payers don't enjoy giving someone money that had a crush on
Susan Kimberly to spend at old Lucy's Bar.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Sharon Anderson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Bill Dahn- I mean 11:00,
Thanks for that post it was as useful or informative as a pimple.

Get some help.


12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ramsey county is moving over on Plato to property that they picked up on forcloser. It once belonged to Sherm Rutzig who in part owns All Inc (which owns a bunch of other buildings down on Plato). So, they picked it up for the taxes owed, nobody got paid anything. It was last used as the Ag building.

And, to the rest of you, thanks for noticing I am still a broke dick...


Chuck Repke

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO now finally admit that the government is profiting from the bad luck of property owners. Picking it up for only taxes due? That's a new low in my mind.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning 7:26 welcome to the real world. It has happened all of the time since any ever owned property, if you don't pay the taxes, you lose the building.


Chuck Repke

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city would like to give money to these developers, even when money is on the crunch.
The mayor and council plan how they will devert your taxes to help their friends that help get them elected.
The dfl union promotes candidates that would help to get money to the developers in the building trades so union workers pay there dues.

6:19 PM  

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