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AnchorBank works with U.S. Bank to stay afloat

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AnchorBank has found itself on stormy economic seas.

The bank's parent company, Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin Inc., is working at this hour to find a solution to its current financial woes.

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AnchorBank owes U.S. Bank a multi-million dollar loan payment on March 2. The loan was secured from U.S. Bank, in part, to fund AnchorBank's acquisition of 13 S&C Bank branches in 2008. Some of those branches included financial institutions in New Richmond, Star Prairie, Somerset, River Falls and Hudson.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, if AnchorBank is not able to negotiate an agreement, U.S. Bank could seize the Wisconsin-based financial institution.

Earlier this week, AnchorBank officials also reported a $167.3 million loss for the fiscal third quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2008. Some of that loss, about $72 million, was a "non-cash write-down" that didn't impact the bank's financial position, according to Mark Timmerman, president and CEO of AnchorBank.

The bank did suffer some major financial losses due to a bankrupt condominum project in Milwaukee and other bad loans.

The pending U.S. Bank loan payment, however, is a different matter all together.

"Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin, Inc. is actively working with U.S. Bank to develop an appropriate strategy to repay our loan to them in a mutually beneficial way," said Liz Boelter, public relations manager with AnchorBank. "We believe we are making progress, and are cautiously optimistic that we will receive a proposal from U.S. Bank yet today (Friday)."

Despite the loan payment issue and the reported third quarter loss, Boelter said AnchorBank customers have nothing to worry about.

"AnchorBank customers' deposits are insured by the FDIC, so they can rest assured that their money is safe at AnchorBank," she reported. "We continue to meet all capital requirements of the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), and our total assets also increased 1.5 percent to $4.8 billion as of December 31, 2008, versus 2007."

Timmerman, in a letter to customers, noted that the organization is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2009. He said he expects the bank to be around for many years to come.

"At AnchorBank, we believe that our 90-year history of hard work and dedication will guide us onward to future success, and we look forward to continuing to serve you," he wrote.

AnchorBank has offices in 62 Wisconsin cities. They employ some 998 full-time and 172 part-time employees across the state, according to their Web site.

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