Mountain 1st receives $16.4 million through TARP

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gibson said, unlike the stimulus package being debated today, the TARP program didn&squo;t spend money. With the TARP funds, the government bought preferred shares in Mountain 1st, shares which one day Mountain 1st hopes to repurchase, returning to the government taxpayers&squo; money with a dividend.

Gibson went to Washington, D.C. before Christmas to talk with officials from Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to tell them what he sees happening in Western North Carolina. He was not encouraged that they understood much beyond the beltway.

What he sees, Gibson said, is a slow real estate market. He pointed to a Beverly Hanks year end report which shows real estate sales down 32% in 2008, and average home prices which dropped seven percent.

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&dquo;We&squo;re not seeing the kinds of busts they have in Las Vegas and California,&dquo; Gibson said. &dquo;It is one of the toughest markets I&squo;ve ever seen, but I&squo;d sure rather be here than in Las Vegas, or California, or Florida.&dquo;