Magazine article American Banker

Downey Posts a Deposit Rebound

Magazine article American Banker

Downey Posts a Deposit Rebound

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Dobbs

The latest monthly figures from Downey Financial Corp. show that, after a brutal July, the Newport Beach, Calif., thrift company lured depositors back last month and curbed its previously soaring growth in nonperforming assets.

But analysts said Downey, which lost $219 million in the second quarter and was hit last month with a regulatory enforcement order to boost capital, remains burdened by a massive load of soured mortgages in the badly bruised Southern California housing market.

Observers also say Downey would be one of the most vulnerable companies to a deposit run if the deepening credit crisis ignited panic.

"A pretty good month can signal more good things to come. It gives you hope," but housing conditions in Southern California "look every bit as ugly as they did six months ago," Joe Garrett, a principal at Garrett, Watts & Co. in Berkeley, said in an interview Thursday. "And when you have to contend with that, as Downey does, obviously one month a trend does not make."

The $13.9 billion-asset company, a big player in the option adjustable-rate mortgage market, lost $500 million of deposits in July as skittish depositors, rattled by the IndyMac Bancorp Inc. collapse, pulled their money out of Downey's branches.

But last month Downey recouped its losses and restored deposits to their June level. It had $9.8 billion as of Aug. 31.

The company credited the deposit rebound to new advertising, but analysts said higher interest rates likely were a big contributor. …

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