How America got rich: "We were growing so fast, we thought it was God"

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by einai, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. einai


    Here in the burgeoning exurbs north of Interstate 94, land was cheap and dreams were big as the prairie sky. Everywhere, developers were turning farm fields into shopping malls, office towers and vast new subdivisions, often on spec – with borrowed money and no firm customers. Demand for loans seemed to be unlimited. And as the price of land soared, it seemed like you couldn't miss in the development business – or in lending.

    Into that overheated environment came Riverview in 2003. A team of career bankers founded the bank as a faith-based institution, targeting the area's growing evangelical community.

    Beginning with no assets and a single branch, Riverview rapidly picked up new business throughout the Minneapolis area. It made loans indiscriminately to builders, developers and homeowners, quickly expanding to three branches and $140-million in assets.

    It wasn't any one project or loan that got the bank in trouble, says a former Riverview director, who declined to be identified. It was the whole business.

    “We put the pedal to the metal and just grew,” the director says. “We were growing so fast, we thought it was God. But it wasn't God. We just weren't being careful.”