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Smooth transition as First Federal takes over Cape Fear Bank

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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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cape fear bank

To those of you who post on this topic, please keep in mind that this is not just about $$$$. Those folks at CAPE are very fine, hardworking, compassionate people with families. They are people who have experienced, serious and debilitating illness, death, and other heartbreaking issues that have not only allowed them to rally around each other but also members of the community that may have been in need. I personally have benefited from their generosity. Now is a time to show compassion to these folks and to their families that are also affected by recent events. To say that the loan officers are the reason that the bank failed borders on libel. Have you noticed the general economic climate? Do you not realize that we all depend upon each other to prosper? When one industry declines it causes decline in many other industries if the trend lasts long enough. Perhaps the critics here have never taken an economics course. Please remember that these folks( including the loan officers and executive management) have faced the fear of the KNOWN. They have watched the decline of the value of their stock/40lk, retirement, kids college fund, etc. just like me or you, an investor who has no employment ties. They are facing the threat of the unknown as well. We know that their will be layoffs. How further disconcerting this must be. Please show these folks the same kindness and courtesy that the FEDs, the NC Banking Commission, and the folks at First Federal have shown them. I have already heard positive and endearing comments on the manner in which the regulators and First Federal have handled this event. May we as community show the same courtesies.

Wrong

It IS all about the $$$$ "Those folks at CAPE are very fine, hardworking, compassionate people with families." (Totally irrelevant) "They are people who have experienced, serious and debilitating illness, death, and other heartbreaking issues that have not only allowed them to rally around each other but also members of the community that may have been in need." (Perhaps they should have been running a bank, instaed of a social organization?) A bank doesn't fail because of a downturn in the economy. A bank fails because the people who were responsible for running the bank either didn't follow the rules or didn't do due dilligence in insuring the quality of its investments and loans. The Feds have standards that must be met, and those standards are there for a reason. Compare the management policies at JP Morgan Chase to Wachovia, and you'll see why one bank fails while another sails along as strong as ever. What made Goldman Sachs survive while Lehman Brothers folded? In CAPE's defense, however, they did nothing worse than what many other banks were doing. COOP suffered just as badly when they found out that their investments in Fannie Mae were worth a handful of magic beans, and I'm not placing any bets on their survival, either. Non-performing loans are increasing across the industry, and weak banks are simply not in a position to weather the storm. all local banks are in a difficult spot - they have to compete with the regional and national giants without compromising the quality of their investments and loan portfolio. It's not an easy tightrope to walk, and unfortunately, CAPE failed to negotiate that high wire.

I hate to

disagree. I am certain many of the folks who work there are good people. But, go to the courthouse in Brunswick, Pender or New Hanover Counties and you will find Cape Fear Bank led area lenders in the number of loans in default. Consistently, week after week, Cape Fear Bank had a significant number of properties in default. Nothing personal; but business is business. Look at the regulatory filings and the Management knew this was coming.

Thank you for catching the

Thank you for catching the ball! The fact that business is business is my point. As for following the filings and financials,I can promise you that I have read every SEC filing, most analysts' reports, and every "trusted" written document associated with CAPE as I am a shareholder. Given the fact that we could eventually surmise the ending from this data, doesn't allow us the right to be mean spirited.

I personally know a business

I personally know a business man who went to 8 different banks to refinance a loan and was turned down by all except Cape Fear bank. This does make me wonder if good finacial decisions were made.