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Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Story: Write Your Own Moral

by Tanta on 8/12/2007 01:48:00 PM

From the FDIC's historical project, "Managing the Crisis: The FDIC and RTC Experience":

The holiday season in Cordell, Oklahoma, did not start off on a merry note back in 1987. Just a month shy of Christmas, Farmers National Bank of Cordell failed. To make matters worse, Farmers was the third bank to fail in Cordell over the previous 18 months—this in a town that once boasted of being “the smallest town in the United States with three national banks.”

At Farmers’ closing, FDIC staff noticed an asset labeled “turkeys” on the bank’s books. When asked about the entry, bank employees directed the FDIC staff to a cold storage locker filled with frozen turkeys—literally thousands of them. The records about the turkeys’ ownership were incomplete, but bank employees assured the FDIC that the turkeys had been repossessed.

The refrigeration system in the locker box was not too reliable, so there was concern that the turkeys would spoil before they could be sold. With the holidays drawing closer, the FDIC staff decided to spread some good cheer by donating the turkeys to a homeless shelter and food pantry in Oklahoma City. Christmas was certainly much brighter for many homeless people that year.

FDIC staff later determined that the turkeys were actually collateral for a loan on the failed bank’s books. The FDIC gave the borrower credit for the collateral’s value and settled the debt.