FDIC closes bank that serves Walnut Creek seniors

February 27, 2012 6:19:07 PM PST
A lot of senior citizens, who relied on a Walnut Creek bank that has failed, are now wondering if and when they will get all their money. The federal agency that insures bank deposits shut down Home Savings of America over the weekend.

Usually, when the feds shut down a bank they can find another bank to buy it before it closes their doors. In this case, there were no buyers for this bank like so many homeowners left upside-down by the mortgage banking crisis, so too was Home Savings of America.

"Yes, all our money's in here right now!" shouted bank customer Karen Rodarte on the phone.

Rodarte and her mother recently put their combined savings into Home Savings of America, a bank that's suddenly out of business.

"We just opened accounts here about a month ago, everything, including a living trust, everything," said Rodarte.

"I noticed the bank was shut, so I knew something was going on. But the fact that it suddenly closed was pretty startling to me," said bank customer Marilyn Shapiro.

One by one shaken account holders showed up at the front-door of the now-shuttered Home Savings an FDIC representative there to greet them. The FDIC insures a non-interest checking account in an unlimited amount. Accounts that pay interest are insured up to $250,000 per account-holder.

"An uninsured account would be for example, one individual who would have more than the insurance limit just in their name. For example, they would have $300,000 in a CD, just in their name. $50,000 of that would not be what we would be immediately sending you a check for," said Gerald Billings, a FDIC representative.

So the check is in the mail for most of these customers, but those who need cash right away or try to use their ATM card are out of luck in the short term.

"I was mad. I said I have $10 in my wallet. So everything's closed, my checking, everything is closed. My son had to lend me $300," said bank customer Daisy Lem.

"This was my favorite one," said Carol Terry.

Terry didn't have any money in the bank, but she did have her paintings on display inside. Now, she's putting them in her trunk.

Anthony: So even the lady with the artwork was affected?
Terry: Oh yes, trickle down.

We're told the FDIC mailed out the insurance checks customers on Monday, but for those who had checking accounts here will likely be the most affected. Direct deposit, social security payments, and auto-pay and anything that was done on the Internet will likely be disrupted. Paper checks that were just written or recently sent out, will likely bounce.

Branches of Home Savings of America were also shutdown in Southern California and Minnesota. The banks did not have to have enough capital on hand to cover all customer deposits.

ABC7's Katie Marzullo contributed to this report.


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