Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Big Lake Bank Sold After Cited For Non-Compliance By Feds

Comptroller of the Currency Cited Bank in "Troubled Condition"

LABELLE, FL. (June 7, 2006) -- Now under new ownership as of this week, Big Lake National Bank has been taken over by Seacoast National Bank, a chain of primarily Florida east coast banks based in Stuart. Customers of the former Big Lake National Bank could see a flurry of activity inside the modest building in LaBelle as new supervisors were handling much of the business of the bank while apparently training employees and answering numerous questions from customers.

The Federal banking regulators, the Comptroller of the Currency, cited  Big Lake National Bank last October and came to a formal agreement with the directors of the bank that after the bank  was found using unsafe and unsound banking practices in the bank's consumer compliance program, and under the federal Bank Secrecy Act program. Examiners also cited violations of five sections of the United States Code that the bank violated.

The bank was ordered under an agreement made between the bank and the Comptroller on October 19 to form a "compliance committee" to among other things, enact policies and procedures for monitoring and reporting larger transactions, and gather information about customers whose transactions pose a greater than normal risk for compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, including controls to ensure all large transactions are identified and reported. The bank was ordered to also require than any existing customer banking relationships that might be detrimental to the reputation of the bank, be closed.

The bank was ordered to come into compliance with all consumer protection laws and regulations and to prepare a manual covering how bank personnel were to perform their duties under the consumer laws. all within 90 days.

The directors were given 90 days in which to comply with the 14-page agreement. Big Lake Bank directors signing the agreement were John Abney, Sr., John B. Boy, Jr., Robert Coker, Mary Beth Cooper, H. Gilbert Culbreth, Jr., Curtis S. Fry, Joe Mullins, Bobby Tucker, and Edwin Walpole III. Joe Mullins now remains as a regional president with Seacoast National Bank.

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