You can bank on it

Occasionally, someone will tell me how much fun my job sounds. It’s a nice thing to say and I don’t disagree, but they probably don’t consider all that the job entails. Let me just say, it’s not always as much fun as it might appear.

For example, I stood in the rain and cold outside Park National Bank in Oak Park for a few hours Friday looking for something I wasn’t sure was going to happen. It’s part of the gig. Bill Dywer and Terry Dean, reporters at the newspaper I work with, received a tip the longtime neighborhood bank was defunct and FDIC regulators would soon be taking control of its operations and assets. That’s where I come in … and the standing around part.

Because the federal government doesn’t exactly like to publicize taking control of a failed bank, we were not given much heads up as to when (or what for that matter) something was going to happen. What we did know was the story would be important to the community. Scores of residents bank there. In fact, the village itself does too. The president of the bank lives in River Forest.

So I waited. And paced. And waited some more. Bank employees, who had yet to learn the news themselves, gave me plenty of curious looks through the windows. Then, after nearly two hours, there was something to photograph. I had no way of knowing if the trio walking through the bank parking lot were actually federal regulators, but I had a good hunch and snapped photos of them entering the bank to take control. I shot a photo of the sign reflecting in a rain puddle as bank employees gathered outside moments after official word hit.

Later I caught up with one of the regulators and asked when signs would be posted. She starkly replied, “No comment!”. I had my photo, and now I had my confirmation. Bank officials would later reconfirm and we published the photo online.

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