It was a low-key encounter as Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin leaders greeted more than 100 stockholders and employees at the company's annual shareholders meeting Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

President and chief executive Chris Bauer said Anchor, parent of AnchorBank, has made real progress on the four goals he laid out when he took over the Madison bank three years ago: strengthen the management team; enhance risk management; realign the balance sheet; and improve efficiency.

Bauer said delinquent loans have fallen sharply, capital levels are higher and the bank company continues to cut costs.

"Now, we're at a period of time where we've stabilized the company; we can begin to grow," he said.

But Anchor is not out of the woods. "Major challenges still remain," said board chairman David Omachinski," including a tough commercial real estate market and Anchor's big debts — $133.5 million to the U.S. Treasury and $157.3 million to a group of banks led by U.S. Bank.

"We are committed to raising further capital," Omachinski said. So far, there are no takers.

Only half a dozen shareholders spoke out during a question-and-answer session, but a couple of the questions were pointed.

Asked one person: Why isn't the federal government taking over the bank?

"Regulators see that Anchor is making progress, and it would be counterproductive to close the institution," Omachinski said.

Another shareholder, Christopher Barth of Monroe, asked how long the U.S. Bank consortium will wait for its money. Bauer said he expects the loan, due in November, will be extended again.

But Barth said he thinks it's just a question of time before the other banks act, potentially pulling the plug on Anchor. "I don't think it has a chance at all of surviving," Barth said.

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(6) comments

MambaZulu
MambaZulu

Anchor Bank is terminally sick. Amen. US Bank wants to grow in Madison. Dan Frazier here is your chance to make a hit.

Atron
Atron

That's what 'm saying. I've talked to "experts" who tell me that the FDIC ( our government) doesn't have enough money to buy out every troubled bank and S&L in America. As long as they are reasonably operating and are above the basic minimum's of liquidity and other benchmarks and making progress in correcting their problems and not in total failure mode, they would rather keep them going than take a loss. I see in an above article that USB has assets of 343 Billion. IMO, the 150 Mill that Anchor owes them is chump change for them and would cost them alot more than that to take them over. And for what? A bunch of bad loans and foreclosed properties? Its always an option later, but its better to be steady as she goes at this time.

occamedia
occamedia

So basically what you're saying mjp and Atron is that if something is so much of a failure that nobody cares enough to liquidate it, no matter how much money Anchor owes them, then just let them coast along indefinitely not fulfilling any of their obligations. Yes, we all expect too much don't we? How dare the taxpayer, who has yearly obligations to the government or the consumer who has credit obligations every month expect that a BANK would improve after nearly four years of deadbeat status, when it received bailout money. What consumer would ever get to drift for years not meeting their obligations? I doubt Anchor would ever return the favor to any of their own customers who hit a patch of hard times. Anchor's away. Pull the plug already.

mjp
mjp

Well said Atron. We expect too much growth in too short of a time.

Atron
Atron

I think that things are running as well as to be expected. As long are things are running and improving slowly and the bleeding has been contained, why would the Feds or USB want to get stuck with a large potential loss with a total failure? IMO, in the overall scheme of things, 150 mil is really nothing to USB and their partners when you deal in billions and billions. I don't believe that USB would want to buy/take over another banking system when they have enough on their plate now. How many more USB banks are needed in Madison? The Fed would be better off getting nothing in the short term rather than forking our millions in a failure situation. I think they will be OK if no one makes any rash moves and the economy keeps improving. However, I think it will take 7-10 years to get everything straightened out. Unfortunately and a sign of the times, some want instant results and that's just not possible. You just need patience and steady as she goes.

Maninthemiddle
Maninthemiddle

"Real progress" is not only owing banks millions but owing the Federal taxpayers over $100 Million with dividends adding on to that daily?? I'm surprised the stockholders didn't vote to fire the whole bunch of bozo officers for treating them like they are stupid. Pull the plug before the cesspool gets even more stinky - if that's possible.

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