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First Lowndes Bank shuts down

LOWNDES — The First Lowndes Bank, which does business in Butler, Crenshaw and Lowndes counties, became the latest addition to the FDIC’s failed bank list.

The takeover occurred shortly after the bank closed Friday. First Citizens Bank of Luverne is set to take over all of First Lowndes’ accounts.

Twenty-seven banks have failed since Jan. 1. First Lowndes is the first Alabama-based bank to be closed in 2010.

Roberta Valdez, spokesperson for the FDIC, said bank customers should not panic.

“The basic message for customers is business as usual,” Valdez said. “You can still use your ATM and check cards from First Lowndes Bank until First Citizens notifies them otherwise.”

First Lowndes Bank moved to the area in 1984. Since that time the bank has become the main financial player in the tri-county area.

The FDIC maintains records on market share of deposits for all FDIC-insured institutions. This data gives a percentage of all deposits by institution, effectively providing a snapshot of a bank’s customer base.

As of June 30, 2009, the most recent data available, First Lowndes Bank held 23.9 percent of deposits in the tri-county area.

Banktrust, with 14.27 percent of the tri-county area, is the next largest bank by deposit market share.

Customers with accounts under the FDIC insured $250,000 limit will not lose the money.

More information about the takeover can be found at www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist. This document will include the address and contact information for those wishing to file a claim against the bank.