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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Epic Bank Fail

U.S. seizes IndyMac as troubles spread
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. banking regulators swooped in to seize mortgage lender IndyMac Bancorp Inc on Friday after withdrawals by panicked depositors led to the third-largest banking failure in U.S. history.

California-based IndyMac, which specialized in a type of mortgage that often required minimal documents from borrowers, became the fifth U.S. bank to fail this year as a housing bust and credit crunch strain financial institutions.

The federal takeover of IndyMac capped a tumultuous day for U.S. markets that saw stocks slide on a surging oil price and renewed fears about the stability of the top two home financing providers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

IndyMac will reopen fully on Monday as IndyMac Federal Bank under Federal Deposit Insurance Corp supervision, but tensions ran high as customers at a branch at its Los Angeles-area headquarters read a notice in the window saying it was closed.

At another branch down the road, a man who said he had more than $200,000 (100,000 pounds) in an account -- twice what is normally FDIC guaranteed -- argued with a security guard who was closing up.

The FDIC, which will seek a buyer for IndyMac, estimated the cost of the bank's failure to its $53 billion insurance fund at between $4 billion and $8 billion.

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