Arkansas Vets Coalition

Veterans, Reserves and Active Duty from all parts of Arkansas and across the nation, coming together to support those persons who best exemplify the principles on which our nation was founded - Fiscal Responsibility, Independent & self-sustaining, Freedoms GUARANTEED by our Constitution and Bill of Rights, serving our country not for personal gain but for the common good!!
WE are dedicated to making a difference once more.
We have served in all branches of military beginning with the Revolutionary WAR and continuing in every conflict to include more recently from beaches of Normandy, in jungles of SE Asia, to conflicts in Bosnia, Somalia, The Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom, all through the Cold War Period of 1945 - 1991, dedicating our lives to fighting terrorism in both Afghanistan and Iraq,
we now arise to serve again, fighting to reclaim our country and the principals upon which is was founded!!.


26 February 2010

Obama Friend’s Bid for Senate Seat Threatened by Bank’s Losses

Obama Friend’s Bid for Senate Seat Threatened by Bank’s Losses
By John McCormick
February 26, 2010
Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Fridays are getting tense in the Chicago campaign office of Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat seeking the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama. That’s the day regulators announce which troubled banks they’ll close.

Broadway Bank in Chicago, owned by Giannoulias’s family, must attract at least $75 million in capital by late April to meet terms of a consent order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. prompted by losses on commercial real-estate loans. Even if successful, the family could lose control before November’s election, dealing a blow to Democrats and an Obama friend.

“The last thing that Alexi Giannoulias needs right now is another round of bad news stories and stories raising questions about the family’s business,” said Stu Rothenberg, editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report. “The one thing you don’t want to spend in a campaign is a lot of time defending yourself.”

The fate of the $1.2 billion-asset Broadway Bank, whose wealth helped finance Giannoulias’s successful 2006 state treasurer bid, is playing a growing role in a contest for a seat the Democrats have unexpectedly found themselves defending and that may help determine whether Obama’s party can keep its Senate majority. Recent polls show Giannoulias in a tight race with Mark Kirk, a five-term Republican congressman from Chicago’s northern suburbs.

Consent Order

One week before Giannoulias won the Feb. 2 primary, the FDIC and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued the consent order.

“The family is committed to contributing to recapitalizing the bank, but doesn’t have the full amount required,” said Tilden Katz, a Broadway Bank spokesman. “Any capital infusion will take place alongside private investors and longtime customers who have said they will stand with us.”

Failure to raise the money would make a takeover of the bank by the FDIC more likely, said Matthew Anderson, a partner with Foresight Analytics.

Capital Challenge

“It’s a challenging environment to raise capital,” he said. “An enforcement order from regulators would tend to raise some alarms among investors.”

Broadway was one of 188 undercapitalized banks out of more than 8,000 nationwide in the fourth quarter of 2009, Anderson said. While the broader economy shows signs of improvement, some community banks continue to struggle. Regulators are closing them at the fastest pace in 16 years.

Broadway could be closed if additional loans go bad, even during the 90-day period covered in the consent order signed Jan. 26, Anderson said.

Kirk, 50, has highlighted Broadway’s struggle and said a closing would pose “significant problems” for Giannoulias, 33.

Some of the Broadway loans that have generated controversy involve Michael Giorango, a convicted bookmaker and prostitution-ring promoter. It has also made loans to convicted Illinois influence peddler Antoin “Tony” Rezko and a family accused of having connections to organized crime.

“I was not inside any loan transaction with mob figures, and I was not inside the Broadway Bank,” Kirk told reporters Feb. 19.

Senior Loan Officer

Giannoulias worked as a senior loan officer and vice president at the bank after graduating from Boston University and Tulane University Law School. The campaign committee for Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate run banked there, and the two men have remained basketball-playing buddies.

Giannoulias and his two brothers are among the privately held bank’s owners, Katz said.

“When I left nearly four years ago it was healthy, profitable and very well capitalized,” Giannoulias said in a statement. “Hundreds of community banks that didn’t get a dime of bailout dollars are struggling, and Broadway Bank is no exception.”

He said he would not have made some of the loans to controversial figures had he “known then what I know now.”

His campaign presented figures showing 9 percent of about $240 million in non-performing assets now on the bank’s books originated while he was there.

Republicans criticize Giannoulias for not answering more questions about the bank. His chief rival in the Democratic primary also questioned his time at the institution.

Family Dividends

In November, Giannoulias defended about $70 million in dividends paid to family members in 2007 and 2008, saying much of the money went to income taxes after his father’s death.

He alone couldn’t make a significant dent in the capital needed to comply with the regulators’ order, his public records show. His most valuable non-bank asset is a $1.5 million Chicago condominium purchased in 2007.

Giannoulias, who is single, has $15,001 to $50,000 in deposits at Broadway, according to a disclosure report he filed in March. His 3.6 percent ownership in Broadway Bank was valued at $1 million to $5 million.

Rothenberg said he sees a slight advantage for Kirk because of the bank controversy and this summer’s corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat.

“The timing seems right for Kirk,” he said.

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