Unedited: Community responds to the closing of Orion Bank, reopening as IberiaBank

In their own words, the Island community has a lot to say about their community bank

Article Highlights

  • View related story links for the details on the transition from Orion Bank to IberiaBank

Marco Eagle reporters and correspondents gathered reactions from dozens of community members in the days following the feds takeover of Orion Bank Friday night. In their own words, here is what they had to say...

Juan Munera, Art dealer, artist:

“I think it’s fantastic that the Federal Government has mastered the science of closing and re-opening banks over the weekends -over 170 so far I believe...- At the same time it’s frustrating to know that after 16 months into this bail out crisis, Congress has not passed any serious laws that may prevent another catastrophe, and banks are getting bigger and taking the same unregulated risks as before. Although, the 'Orion cases' do not hurt the average citizen directly, in the long run those quick fixes are just little bandages to the real problem. We witnessed the failure of the American system, and that is what has to be re-invented from the ground up.”

Ted Forcht, Marco City Council incumbent candidate and Kentucky banker:

"Ekkk, actually, its against Federal Law for a bank director to comment on another bank's management or condition."

Geoff Fahringer, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Marco resident:

“These readjustments are still going to occur as our economy continues to improve, and there are many indicators that that is happening. I am hopeful our local bank branches with strong local leadership will not fall victim also.”

Donna Blankman, Marco Players amateur theater group:

“Once again the “little man” loses. Perhaps we all must resign ourselves to the fact that all of our banking will eventually be handled by the “too big to fail” institutions. I just hope that the staff of Orion Bank will be there for Marcoites as Iberia employees. Orion Bank under Keith Dameron’s guidance has been a very positive influence on the cultural life of Marco Island. It would be a huge loss if that were to end.”

Vip Grover, Marco insurance broker:

“Hopefully the new bank will keep the branches open and the real workers employed. It’s a shame that the greed of the officers and executives of Orion (and the multitudes of other banking and financial institutions that have created these down economic times) continues to wreak havoc with the lives and livelihoods of the employees and their families, the security of their customers and the dynamics of our economy as a whole.”

Bill Koetting, Marco resident, musician and retired businessman:

“Keith Dameron is an honest man, an excellent businessman, and a pillar of our community.”

Bob Furek, retired business executive and Marco resident:

“This is a good news, bad news story. The good news is that virtually all the bank’s customers will see their their checking and other accounts protected by the FDIC. Therefore, customers and general depositors should be not lose their deposits. In addition, the transition to the acquiring bank appears seamless. The bad news is that this event reminds us that we are not out of the woods yet and more bank failures and home foreclosures are still to come.”

Tarik Ayasun, business and personal account customer at the Marco branch:

“It’s sad when it’s local people that you know. I felt bad for them, but I knew it was coming. There are others (bank failures) and tons of people lost a lot of money in shares. I know someone who just lost $300,000. The only losers are those who have over $250,000 in CDs and the shareholders. By the time you know it’s coming, by the time the people on the street know it, it’s too late. Ninety percent of the people don’t know unless you’re in the business. Even then, by the time you learn it, the share has already gone down and you have to decide whether to get out, causing the values to drop more, or wait and hope for it to go back up.”

Patrick Neale, attorney, former president Marco Chamber of Commerce:

“It is unfortunate that the collapse in the Southwest Florida real estate market has caused such damage to our financial community. Orion, as were others who have also been in the same position, was a good corporate citizen and supported many of the charities and events in our area. It remains to be seen if the out of the area banks that are taking over local entities will be able to be as involved in our community.”

Larry Magel, Marco City Council candidate:

“It’s a shame that the current economy has caused so many bank failures, but I’m confident that Keith Dameron can make the Iberia name as well known on the island as Orion.”

Kathryn Hunt, Marco Realtor:

“That bank has a lot of good people working there, so I hope this change works out well for them. I know the banking business nationally is in uncertain times.”

Donna Fiala, Collier County Commissioner representing District 1:

“Because of Keith Dameron and his outstanding staff, Orion Bank stood in the forefront of businesses on Marco. I hope Iberia will see the value in each and every one of these people and keep them to exemplify the same great, caring, friendly atmosphere that was always displayed at Orion.”

Lisa Popoff, co-owner Rick’s Island Salon:

“Nothing is really new here. Look at all the banks that are presently on the island, they have all been another bank at one time or another, whether they shut down or were bought out by another bank. Business as usual!”

Earle Messere, retired weapons systems expert, Marco resident:

“Too much fragile debt in the BOOM equals destructive Cash Flow in the BUST; One must hope that the now restructured debt, the governments help (“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. estimates the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund from the Orion takeover will be $615 million”), and the new management from Iberia stabilizes this institution.”

John and Judy Kenney, realtors with Prudential Florida Realty:

“We are very upset by the bank’s closure along with everything else that’s happening. It seems as if our politicians have another agenda entirely. Now we all need to get involved.“

Fay Biles, President of the Marco Island Taxpayers Association:

"It was big shock, but it is a harbinger of what is to come unless the government changes its positions. Left alone, our country could recover."

Chuck Kiester, incumbent Marco City Council candidate:

“Not shocking since news of its troubles with the feds have been around for several months.  We still keep money at Orion, our primary checking account, my campaign account and some CDs.”

The longest comment is from Keith Dameron, former Orion Bank Vice President and currently with IberiaBank's Marco branch:

"When I walked down to the end of my driveway very early Saturday morning and picked up the Naples Daily News, I almost fainted! The headline I read through the wrapper said..'Feds Shut Down Naples Based Orion Bank.' Actually, that did not happen.

"The real story is that Orion Bank was closed Friday evening and the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with IberiaBank of Lafayette, LA. to assume all deposits of the bank. So, our normal banking hours, procedures and customer support is uninterrupted and we opened as usual on Saturday morning.

"Your question may be, who is IberiaBank, how financially strong are they, what about my deposits and will the Marco branch remain open?  Great questions!

"Let me address them in reverse order."

Will the Marco branch remain open?

"Yes, the Marco branch will remain open with the same staff and manager with no changes except the signage which will read IberiaBank. (as soon as they can get them up)"

What about my deposits?

"For those of you who had accounts with Orion Bank, you now have the exact same accounts with IberiaBank. All deposit accounts which include checking, savings, money market, CD’s and retirement accounts, have been transferred to IberiaBank regardless of the dollar amount. No one lost any money on deposit with Orion Bank in the transition."

Who is IberiaBank?

"Established in 1887 originally as Iberia Building Association, we have successfully and profitably grown where today, we have 204 offices including 135 bank branches covering 11 states. IberiaBank’s comprehensive financial product line includes Retail, Commercial, Private Banking, Mortgage, Cash Management, Online Banking and Investment Services.

"IberiaBank’s relationship-based approach to serving customers and the community is a perfect fit for how we in the Marco bank have been and will continue to operate."

How financially strong is IberiaBank?

"IberiaBank Corporation is a shareholder-driven company that has demonstrated continued growth in its core profitability. Improved earnings have translated into an improved stock price for the Company’s shareholders. IberiaBank is the 122-year-old subsidiary of IberiaBank Corporation with current assets of $9.6 billion. With the acquisition of Orion and Century banks, IberiaBank ranks as the 20th largest financial institution.

"IberiaBank Corporation reported record results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009 of $25 million of announced income available to common shareholders which is an increase of 194 percent compared to the second quarter of 2009. Bank rating agencies continue to place IberiaBank in their highest categories with both Bankrate.com and BaurFinancial awarding IberiaBank 4 stars.

"In summary, the acquisition of Orion Bank by IberiaBank brings to our current and future customers a much broader array of banking, lending and investment products and services accompanied by Iberia/Marco employees who continue to demonstrate their 'passion' to provide the finest customer service…bar none!

"I want to thank everyone for their interest and concern, not just for our bank, but for each of my Marco associates who are, unquestionably, the finest banking team in the area."

Signed “Keith Dameron, VP-Manager iBeriaBank, 605 Bald Eagle Drive"

Several correspondents with Naples Media Group, including Marco Eagle staff, contributed to gathering these comments

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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