Colonial Bank failure won’t cost customer

Published 8:57 pm Friday, August 14, 2009

Colonial Bank customers may have boarded the last remaining lifeboats, but the ship has sunk.

The Alabama State Banking Department took possession of Colonial Bank Friday at 5p.m., according to a release from the state banking department.

According to, the troubled bank was on the brink of failure Friday as a federal judge ordered a freeze of its assets and a wire service reported that the bank’s deposits and braches are to be purchased by rival Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T), which is based in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Montgomery bank, Colonial BancGroup, would be the sixth largest bank failure in United States history and the largest failure of 2009. Colonial BancGroup, with about $25 billion in assets, is 100 times larger than the typical bank to have failed in 2009.

In the transition period, customers should see little impact, reported the Alabama State Banking Department.

“Depositor will be able to access their accounts at the former main office and branch locations of Colonial Bank,” the release read. “Customers of the former Colonial Bank should continue to use their existing branches until BB&T can fully integrate the deposit records of Colonial Bank.”

Customers’ accounts will also be accessible through automated teller machines transactions, checks and debit transactions.

As are all Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-insured banks, accounts are insured up to $250,000.

BB&T is reported to have assets of $150 billion and 1,500 branches across the Southeast with nearly 30,000 employees.

The regional banking power has a long and storied history. According the BB&T Web site, in the aftermath of the Civil War, Alpheus Branch, the son of a wealthy planter in Halifax County, North Carolina, established a small mercantile business, called Branch and Company. In 1872, he joined forces with Thomas Jefferson Hadley to create a banking institution people could believe in – Branch and Hadley.

The bank continued to grow and today is reported to be the 11th largest bank in the country. With the acquisition of Colonial BancGroup, the bank will jump to the country’s ninth largest bank.