DuPONT - First-Citizens Bank & Trust, which acquired Venture Bank in September, closed three former Venture Bank branches this week and announced that it will move out of Venture's former headquarters in DuPont by March 26, a spokeswoman for First Citizens said Friday.
The three branches that closed were in Lakewood, Puyallup and Woodinville, spokeswoman Barbara Thompson said, adding that customers were notified by mail about the decision and informed about nearby branches that they could access after the three branches closed.
“We still have 14 branches and can adequately serve the community out of those offices,” Thompson said.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many employees were affected by the branch closures or whether they would be transferred to other parts of the company.
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Meanwhile, 25 employees will vacate the former Venture Bank headquarters in DuPont this month and relocate to a First Citizens branch in Lacey on College Street, she said. Thompson said the bank did not need that much space and that the building will be turned over to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The FDIC, Venture Bank’s primary regulator, was involved in closing Venture Bank on Sept. 11, then brokered its sale to First Citizens of North Carolina.
A spokesperson for the FDIC could not be reached Friday, but state Division of Banks Director Brad Williamson said it is not unusual for the FDIC to sell bank assets and to advertise that property for sale on the FDIC Web site. Williamson said First Citizens might have kept the building if the state’s commercial real estate market were stronger. Instead, the property might be packaged with other properties the FDIC is trying to sell, Williamson said.
“The FDIC will get the most money for it that they can get,” he said.
Venture Bank spent about $14 million to build the 54,000-square-foot, three-story building at 1495 Wilmington Drive and opened it in 2007. Although First Citizens is leaving the building, a business called General Dynamics still occupies space on the third floor.
DuPont City Administrator Bill McDonald said he was sad to hear that First Citizens was leaving town, especially after a tough 2009 for the city, in which businesses closed and vacancies increased.
Still, he pointed out that Community 1st Credit Union of Tacoma broke ground on its new headquarters about two weeks ago. “We’re not shouting ‘eureka’ but it’s better than it was six months ago,” he said about business activity in the city.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403