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U.S. Century Bank stockholders approve $65 million capitalization deal

U.S. Century Bank chairman Alex Acosta.
U.S. Century Bank chairman Alex Acosta. Miami Herald staff

U.S. Century Bank stockholders approved a deal with two private-equity firms that will bring $65 million in fresh capital to the cash-strapped bank, according to stockholders leaving the meeting in Doral where the vote took place Monday night.

About 25 shareholders attended the meeting, those leaving said, which was held to vote on a deal with investors Philadelphia-based Patriot Financial Partners and New York-based Priam Capital. Several smaller investors will contribute less than 5 percent of the overall capital.

U.S. Century spokeswoman Ileana Carrera Portal confirmed the deal. Portal said that about 60 percent of total shareholders cast a vote — some by proxy — and that of them 95 percent voted to approve the deal.

Legacy investors will maintain voting control, bank chairman Alex Acosta and president Carlos J. Davila told the Miami Herald last month.

Two previous recapitalization deals with other suitors had failed since late 2012. But the third time was apparently the charm — and may have saved the bank from failure.

“Had this deal not worked, it is possible that the government could have stepped in and taken over the bank,” said Ken Thomas, an independent banking consultant and economist.

Last week, federal regulators shut down Puerto Rico-based Doral Bank, which was also under-capitalized and saddled with bad debt.

A 2011 consent order with federal regulators required U.S Century, which has 22 branches in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, to raise more money after bad loans endangered its balance sheet during the financial crisis.

The bank also received a loan of more than $50 million dollars through the federal Troubled Assets Relief Program loan in 2009, money which it has not yet paid back, according to a government database.

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