LINCOLN, Neb. — The state today closed three banks, blaming liberal lending and collection practices and the depressed farm economy, bringing the total number of Nebraska banks shut down this year to 13.
Closed by the Banking Department were the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Comstock, the Farmers State Bank of Sargent and the Bank of Panama.
"Management made rather heroic efforts to try and save the banks. It was just too late," Banking Department counsel Roger Hirsch said.
Banking Director James Barbee said the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of the banks, which were owned primarily by separate holding companies controlled by the Robert Wekesser family of Lincoln.
Banking problems have plagued the Midwest during the current farm crisis. In neighboring Iowa, 10 banks failed this year, the highest number since the Great Depression.