Former Venture Bank employees and bargain hunters showed up Wednesday morning at the bank's former headquarters in DuPont to pick up items bought in an online auction of former bank office equipment and furniture.
The monthlong online auction, which ended this week, was conducted on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. by Rick Levin & Associates of Chicago. Employees with Rick Levin and FDIC officials were on site Wednesday, but all declined to comment. Rick Levin employee Ira Lauter said Tuesday that he is limited by the FDIC in what he can talk about. FDIC spokesman David Barr said via e-mail that office equipment at failed banks is auctioned off as a way to pay creditors.
For sale were more than 1,000 Venture Bank office items, likely generating thousands of dollars for businesses that worked with the bank and didn’t get paid, uninsured depositors and other creditors. Venture Bank was closed by state and federal regulators and sold to First-Citizens Bank & Trust of North Carolina on Sept. 11. The closure cost the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund an estimated $298 million.
About 15 people stood Wednesday morning outside the 54,000-square-foot building, waiting for their numbers to be called. Winning bidders were not allowed inside the building but had to wait for their purchases to be brought to them. Some showed up in vans or flatbed trucks, and one person rented a trailer. The Venture Bank building, which cost about $14 million to build, opened in 2007.
Former Venture teller Kristen Gerg of Graham, who joined the bank in March 2009, paid $19 for a bar stool-style chair, she said. After the bank closed, Gerg went to work for First Citizens. Gerg said she did her job training at the DuPont location and said it was a “great building with great people.”
“It’s sad, very sad,” she said as she watched office equipment being removed from the building.
Other bidders Wednesday were bargain hunters looking for inexpensive items for their offices or to resell. John Schendel of Newcastle rented a trailer to load it with chairs, wall art, two tables, computer keyboards and computer mice, he said. He spent about $215, including fees and taxes, said Schendel, who planned to use some of the equipment at home and sell the rest.
Web developer Don Powell of Gig Harbor paid $75 for two, 5-foot artificial plants, some phones and a desk set, he said. “I would’ve paid that for one phone,” he said about his $75 price tag.
Jason Pace of DuPont paid $60 for a Lenovo laptop computer, something that typically would sell used for $500 or $600, he said. Winning bidders also can pick up their items today and Friday.