Regulators failed a small Chicago thrift on Friday, four years after it was saved at the last minute by a group looking to start an environmentally friendly bank.
The $72.9 million-asset GreenChoice Bank was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. entered into an agreement with Providence Bank LLC in South Holland, Ill., to buy $67.7 million of GreenChoice's assets and assume its $71 million in deposits.
The failure, the fourteenth this year, is expected to cost the Deposit Insurance Fund $14.2 million.
The thrift was originally called Family Federal Savings of Illinois and operated as a mutual. In July 2010, GreenChoice Holding bought the thrift after the regulators allowed it to complete a voluntary supervisory conversion, an organizational shift reserved for critically undercapitalized mutuals that are able to find investors.
GreenChoice had received approval to charter its own thrift in 2009 but could not raise adequate capital to satisfy regulators. Executives from GreenChoice said they had raised $16 million, and regulators wanted the group to boost it to $25 million.
The investor group saw the Family Federal conversion deal as a way to get started faster.
GreenChoice's vision was to bring an environmentally-conscious slant to banking and wanted to do so in every aspect of the business, including placing a branch at the Green Exchange, a former factory in Chicago that was converted to meet LEED platinum standards. At the time of the conversion, executives said commercial borrowers could potentially get a better rate for, say, installing an efficient heating system.
The thrift's leverage ratio went from 0.29% at the end of the second quarter of 2010 to 12.24% at the end of the next quarter. Its problem assets fell, but they remained at elevated levels.
Persistent credit issues eroded the thrift's capital, and by 2013 it was once again significantly undercapitalized. Its leverage ratio was 1.98% at the end of the first quarter of 2014, according to data from the FDIC. Regulatory guidelines call for failure when capital falls below 2%.