Hush, money

Scot Meader, manager of Missoula County’s fair and fairgrounds resigned today. Hopefully, this will stem the tide of complaints being leveled against him: alleged drunken groping, unethical and deceptive behavior, and a lack of being honest, ethical and forthright.

But, while Meader is going to cease representing the fair he will continue to receive his salary for the next year. $71,776 seems like a lot of money in Missoula, moreso when you’re being paid not to continue doing bad things.

Seems like in bad economic times that the County Commissioners should stand up to the weasel. Commissioner Bill Carey said he doesn’t “know for sure how we got to this point”. Well here’s a clue – you didn’t nip this thing in the bud when the original sexual harassment claim was filed. Now, you’re making us all pay for your efforts at trying to sweep this under the rug.

Sorry, but I think Meader should pay the County if he wants us to keep quiet about his unprofessional behavior. If he wants a job anywhere near Missoula then wouldn’t it be in his best interests to not be dragged through the arena of public scrutiny?

Something wrong?

There was an extraordinary hearing today at the bipartisan commission established to examine the causes of the current financial crisis. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase and commonly acknowledged as one of America’s most powerful and outspoken bankers, said this:

Regulators simply didn’t have the visibility, tools or authority to protect the stability of the financial system as a whole.”

Why not?

And the second to follow?

Back in October I wondered if Sterling Savings Bank would be the first bank in Missoula to go under. Well, that story seems to drag on and on (see updates at the end of that post).

Now, it seems as if a Montana chartered community bank, Treasure State Bank, is on the same path. On December 29th they announced they would agree to a regulator contract to maintain a Tier 1 leverage capital ratio of 12%. The average for all FDIC insured commercial banks in Montana as of September 30, 2009 was 10.43%.

As the Missoula Independent reports, the “consent order,” aims to address losses to the bank resulting from loans gone bad. Basically, the have to set aside a chunk more cash to cover the dodgy loans that they made in the past. And since Treasure State Bank is relatively young bank, founded in January 2007, they don’t have those reserves.

So, they went out to raise some more capital. Perhaps the problem is that investors don’t think Treasure State is such a good deal. The bank had to extend the stock offering another month.

Back in July, you’ll remember Treasure State Bank had the second worst Troubled Asset Ratio of the banks in Missoula (after Stirling Savings Bank). Now admittedly that Troubled Asset Ratio was a little bit better by September (down to 49%, from 54%), but of the 38 banks the FDIC has closed since Sept. 30, 32 had a troubled asset ratio of greater than 100.

Oh, and you’ve got to wonder why they needed a new President and CEO back in October? Maybe because a few days earlier the bank had announced they had lost $74,000 in the previous quarter. In the year to Sept 30, they’d managed to lose over a $1 million.   Not bad for a bank with less than 20 employees!

How is, exactly, that a bank loses money when they borrow from you and I at exceedingly low rates (our savings accounts) and lend that money to folks to buy cars and stuff at a much higher rate? Yep, management probably made some bad decisions, so management had to go.

Now, who is supervising the management? On the Board of Directors of Treasure State Bank, you’ll find:

Howard C. Chandler, a neurosurgeon
Mark S. Hawkins, president of InterWest Health
Stanley Earl Jenne, formerly Chair of Accounting at UM
Raymond Joseph Round, director of Davidson Investment Advisors
Mark C. Staples, an attorney based in Helena
William R. Weaver, a real estate developer
James A. Salisbury, the new CEO

If Treasure State is your bank, or if your business is relying on a loan from Treasure State, now might be a good time to get to know these folks.

If you’re an investor, then this graph tells your story:

Treasure State Bank currently trades on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) under the ticker symbol “TRSU”.