Viking Bank agrees to tighter oversight by FDIC

Viking Bank (2227 N.W. 57th St.) has agreed to stricter requirements by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI.)

According to the Seattle Times, four more Washington banks, including Viking, have recently been placed under tighter scrutiny. The “Consent Order” for Viking Bank was issued on November 4, 2009 by the FDIC and WDFI (link to .pdf of Consent Order found on this page).

Under the Consent Order, Viking Bank agrees to the stricter oversight “without admitting or denying any charges of unsafe or unsound banking practices relating to weaknesses in capital, asset quality, management and earnings,” the Consent Order states. The Seattle Times says,

The orders vary in their specific terms and conditions, but in general they require banks to clear senior-management changes with regulators; increase capital levels; adopt plans to purge bad loans from their books; and reduce overreliance on certain loan categories, such as commercial real estate.

In addition, the banks generally cannot pay cash dividends, either to individual shareholders or their holding companies, without regulators’ approval.

Emily Wiseman, Marketing Director for Viking Bank, says that like many small-town banks, they have their share of issues. For about a year they’ve been making their own changes and the requirements by the FDIC and WDFI were not a surprise. “We’re very confident in the direction we’re going,” she says. Viking Bank has been pro-active in reaching out to their customers and Wiseman stresses that this order has absolutely no affect on the safety of customer deposits. She says that they welcome questions from both customers and non-customers alike who are looking for more clarification. (Thanks BBO for posting this in the forum.)

Stage 2 burn ban in effect

Unless your wood-burning fireplace is your only source of heat, you shouldn’t be using it, says the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. “Stable weather conditions, combined with heavy use of wood-burning devices in our region, have created pollution levels that are unhealthy for sensitive group populations,” the agency website states. Because of the air quality, the agency has expanded the “Stage 2 burn ban” to include King County. According to the website, during a Stage 2 burn ban:
* No burning is allowed in ANY wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves or fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet stoves, unless this is your only adequate source of heat. Residents should rely instead on their home’s other, cleaner source of heat (such as their furnace or electric baseboard heaters) for a few days until air quality improves, the public health risk diminishes and the ban is cancelled
* Even if your fireplace, pellet stove, or wood stove is your only adequate source of heat, no visible smoke is allowed.
* No outdoor fires are allowed. This includes recreational fires such as bonfires, campfires and the use of fire pits and chimineas.
* Burn ban violations are subject to a $1,000 penalty.

The use of gas and propane stoves and inserts are allowed during burn bans. (Thanks Kate for the tip!)

Holiday drives to benefit Ballard Food Bank

Each week, more than 1,000 households rely on the Ballard Food Bank for food, clothing and personal hygiene items. This year, the food bank is teaming up with several local businesses for holiday food drives. National Drycleaners (8757 Holman Road) is one of those businesses. Owner Mike Erstad says, “We have a responsibility as part of this community to make an effort to ensure that all its members have the opportunity to enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season. We are pleased to do anything we can to make that happen.”

View Ballard Food Bank drop-off locations in a larger map

The map above shows the holiday food barrels in green and the year-round food barrels in red. You can donate any shelf staple, non-perishable food items, as well as any hygiene items (shampoo, deodorant, etc.) to any of these locations.