Monday, October 1, 2007

NetBank Closes Down

As of Friday (September 28) NetBank has been closed down, and the FDIC has now taken over the bank. According to the FDIC, "No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed." However, I have written extensively about NetBank, and readers of PFStock would have been given full advanced warning that NetBank was on the brink of closure.

To summarize the current situation, depositors with less than $100,000 at NetBank have their deposits fully insured by the FDIC, and their accounts will be transfered to to ING DIRECT. Depositors with over $100,000 may have a portion of their funds that are uninsured, and will lose half of the uninsured amount. Investors in NetBank stock should fully expect to lose ALL of their money. NetBank is essentially bankrupt at this point and stock investors do not usually recover any funds.

PFStock's coverage of NetBank began over a year ago on September 20, 2006, when I posted here that I was about to begin the process of withdrawing my money from NetBank and close my account with them. In that post, Sayonara NetBank, I referred to this process as "evacuating my money." There and in subsequent posts on PFStock, I cited deteriorating financial conditions at NetBank as one of my prime reasons for closing out my account. At that time, I conceded that NetBank was not likely to be forced into bankruptcy, but was wrong.

Over the course of the last year, financial results at NetBank continued to deteriorate. The company eliminated its dividend, and later ousted its CEO in October 2006. Even before this event, I had speculated that something fishy was going on at NetBank. And, I asserted that NetBank could no longer remain competitive with other banks in its online market space.

After a set of staggering losses, NetBank's independent auditor resigned. The stock was eventually delisted from Nasdaq, after it fell well below $1. In May 2007, NetBank made an agreement to sell a substantial portion of its remaining assets to privately held EverBank. This deal was supposed to have been completed by July, but it recently fell through. As recently as my September 10 posting, I speculated that the EverBank deal was in serious jeopardy. With the collapse of this deal, it became obvious that NetBank had exhausted all of its options, and was only be a matter of time before NetBank would be forced by government regulators to liquidate.

The NetBank bankruptcy saga has been an interesting ride. But as the story is nearing an end, this may likely be my last post about NetBank.

Further reading:

NetBank Continued 9/10/2007
NetBank Again 8/5/2007
NetBank's Demise 5/22/2007
The Decline and Fall of Internet-only Banks 12/1/2006
Unprofitable and Unstable, NetBank Ousts its CEO 10/3/2006
More on NetBank 10/2/2006
Sayonara NetBank 9/20/2006