The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found buyers for the branches, deposits, and some of the assets of two banks in California and one in Georgia on February 6. The agency also continues to beef up its receivership unit.

Regions Bank, in Birmingham, AL, agreed to take on McDonough, GA-based FirstBank Financial Services’ four branches, along with deposits of $279 million an $17 million of the failed bank’s $337 million of assets, at a cost of $111 million to the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund.

San Diego-based California Bank & Trust acquired the $951 million in deposits and five branches of Alliance Bank, based in Culver City, CA. California Bank & Trust also agreed to buy some $1.12 billion of Alliance’s $1.14 billion assets from the FDIC, at a $9.9-million discount. The price tag on this resolution for the Deposit Insurance Fund is expected to reach $206 million. The 39 branches operated by Merced, CA-based County Bank have been folded into Westamerica Bank, headquartered in San Rafael, CA, along with $1.7 billion in assets and $1.3 billion in deposits, at a cost of $135 million to the Deposit Insurance Fund.

The FDIC is moving as fast as it can to add to staff. The Division Resolutions and Receiverships added 262 permanent positions and 563 temporary positions in 2008, and expects further hires of 284 and 563 positions, respectively this year. FDIC spokesman David Barr says that “it will take some time to get to our authorized levels.  For instance, we began posting jobs out in Irvine [CA], and the first 30 employees came on board last Monday and an additional 30 came onboard [February 9]. They go through three and a half days of orientation.”

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