Marketplace Scratch Pad

One bank’s trash…

Scott Jagow Dec 22, 2009

This is one of those stories that’s representative of what a long, strange trip it’s been. It’s also appropriate that I just quoted the Grateful Dead because the story begins with a tour bus that reeks of marijuana.

From Bloomberg:

“It smelled so bad of pot after one tour that they had to completely pull out most of the interior and replace it.”

The bus is just one of the many items being sold at FDIC auctions this year. When the FDIC seizes a bank, it takes over all of its assets. That includes furniture from closed branches and sometimes, warehouses full of repossessed collateral. The tour bus once belonged to a rapper, but it was acquired by Omni National Bank in a repossession. Omni was one of the 140 banks to go under this year, so the vehicle became the FDIC’s pot-smelling bus. After it was cleaned up, the bus sold for $310,000 to a Nashville leasing company.

Besides the items you might expect, this year’s haul included a drag-racing Chevrolet pickup truck, 1,000 milking cows and a palm tree.

The auctions are held online, and the auctioneers usuallly require buyers to come get their stuff immediately. There’s no room for buyer’s remorse. More from Bloomberg:

Most come prepared. That was the case with the Ferrari, a 360 Spider F1 with 27,363 miles that sold earlier this year. The buyer paid $61,000 for a car that New Frontier Bank of Greeley, Colorado, had repossessed from an auto dealer that had defaulted on a loan. The buyer arrived on a red-eye flight, paid cash, and drove away…

So far this year, the FDIC has made $6.2 million on the sale of “other assets”. That’s a drop in the FDIC’s bucket, it’s six times what it made last year. As you know, the FDIC could use the money.

If you’re interested in buying, here’s one of the auction sites, and the FDIC has a list of upcoming auctions.

But now I have “Truckin'” in my head. I bet banks all over the country do too:

Got a tip they’re gonna kick the door in again
I’d like to get some sleep before I travel,
But if you got a warrant, I guess you’re gonna come in.

Yes, they are.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.