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UPDATE | Whidbey Island Bank purchases North County Bank

ARLINGTON — North County Bank customers may have noticed a new name on their financial institution.

The bank, which has locations in Smokey Point, Marysville, Lake Stevens and Everett, reopened as branches of Whidbey Island Bank on Monday, Sept. 27, after the Washington Department of Financial Institutions closed North County on Friday, Sept. 24.

The federal agency, citing that North County had inadequate capital and severe loan losses, also announced that Whidbey Island Bank, headquartered in Oak Harbor, would assume the majority of the bank’s deposits and assets.

“The failure of North County Bank is an unfortunate example of the difficulties our smaller financial institutions face during these economic times, particularly those heavily committed to commercial real estate land acquisition and construction lending,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis said. “We are very pleased that Whidbey Island, a Washington state-chartered bank with a strong balance sheet and a 50-year history of serving its communities, has acquired North County Bank.”

Jack Wagner, president and CEO of Whidbey Island Bank, said Monday that former North County customers should continue to expect the same level of customer service and they initially won’t need to make any changes with their accounts.

Eventually, all North County accounts will be switched over to Whidbey Island accounts, but customers will be notified when that change occurs, said Wagner, adding that all checking account and debit card activity, along with other services, will not be affected.

Online banking services and loan services will also remain the same.

Wager said he has not ruled out service changes in the future.

“I don’t think that there will be any big changes for our customers,” Wagner said. “Change is never easy. We are a community bank just like North County. We have a very high reputation for quality customer service. When they go into their branches, they’re going to see the same people as before with no changes to products or services.”

According to a release from the DFI, Whidbey Island Bank has acquired all four North County branches. The four branches reopened on Monday as Whidbey Island Bank branches.

Whidbey Island Bank acquired Lynnwood-based City Bank in April and just completed its conversion.

Whidbey Island Bank, headquartered in Oak Harbor, now has 30 locations from Bellingham to Seattle.

Wagner said he encourages customers and shareholders to contact him with questions. Whidbey’s corporate office can be reached by calling 360-675-5968.

For individual account questions, Whidbey’s customer call center can be reached at 888-642-2265.

As of June 30, 2010, North County Bank had total assets of $288,776,000 and total deposits of $276,081,000.

North County Bank customers seeking more information about the closure should visit www.dfi.wa.gov/banks/northcounty.htm, www.fdic.gov, http://northcountybank.com/ or http://www.wibank.com.

For more information about deposit insurance for Washington banks and credit unions, visit www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/deposits.htm. For details about FDIC coverage and requirements, visit www.fdic.gov or call toll-free 1.877.ASK.FDIC.

DFI also offers answers to frequently asked questions for bank business loan customers in turbulent times at http://dfi.wa.gov/banks/business-loan-faqs.htm.

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