FTX owned an $11.5 million stake in a tiny rural bank in Washington state with just 3 employees, bankruptcy hearing shows

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FTX owned an $11.5 million stake in a tiny rural bank in Washington state with just 3 employees, bankruptcy hearing shows

Pete Syme 

Nov 24, 2022, 3:18 AM

Fields of Whitman County, WA composed next to Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX
The Palouse hills in Whitman County, Washington, where FTX’s investment is located. 
  • Farmington State Bank had 3 staff and was the 26th-smallest bank in America out of a total 4,800.
  • Then FTX bought an $11.5 million stake in the bank, it has emerged during FTX’s bankruptcy case.
  • That stake was more than twice the bank’s previous net worth.

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FTX has come under more scrutiny after it emerged that the collapsed crypto giant owned an $11.5 million stake in one of America’s smallest banks – more than double the bank’s previous net worth – the New York Times reported.

Farmington State Bank, which is based in the small town of Farmington in the rural farming region of Whitman County, Washington, was described as “no-frills” by local newspaper The Spokesman-Review in 2010. Its then-president, John Widman, told the newspaper that it had stopped making mortgage loans because the paperwork was too much effort.

Its single branch had three employees until this year, and didn’t offer online banking or even credit cards. It instead specialised in agricultural loans to farmers.

FTX’s investment came to light during the crypto firm’s bankruptcy case, and is raising red flags about its financial strategy.

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