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Smooth transition as First Federal takes over Cape Fear Bank

Customers said they weren't sure what to expect when they heard Cape Fear Bank would be no more, but the familiar faces they saw at the First Federal Banks pleasantly surprised them. On Friday, the Cape Fear Bank closed its doors for the last time. They were the first North Carolina bank to so since 1993 but the twenty-second US bank to do so this year. Monday, Cape Fear Bank signs were replaced by ones that say First Federal. The South Carolina based bank agreed to purchase eight branches from the FDIC. “We have bidders lined up and they're given a date to have the bid in and based upon the least cost resolution that becomes the winning institution,” said Linda Beavers of FDIC. The winning bid was nearly $ 500 million. Former Cape Fear customers won't really be affected by the change, but were eager to see the difference. Despite the name change from Cape Fear to First Federal, customers don't have to worry. As long as the bank is insured by the FDIC, they can be confident that their money is safe. “Nobody has ever lost a penny of insured money in any FDIC insured institution,” said Thad Woodard of the North Carolina Bankers Association. For now, all Cape Fear employees will keep their jobs at the banks. If the customers get their way that won't change. “Saw the same people in there that I was used to seeing, the same people I know and glad to see them. I'm sure it will be a smooth transition,” said First Federal customer Bill Kane. Still, First Federal plans to interview all of the nearly 100 employees. Many say they're banking on their previous work in the industry. If anyone is let go, the bank will provide services to help them find another job. As for the customers, they don't have to worry about any changes except the bank’s name. All Cape Fear checks will be honored and ATM cards will work until First Federal has a chance to replace them.

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