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Wash. bank, Calif. credit union shuttered

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A Washington state bank and a California credit union have become the first two financial institution failures of the year, officials say.

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions announced Friday it had closed Horizon Bank of Bellingham, Wash., which saw its $1.1 billion of deposits and nearly all of its $1.3 billion in assets assumed by Seattle-based Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Horizon's collapse will constitute a $539 million hit to its insurance fund. The newspaper said Horizon was hit hard by bad real estate loans.

Meanwhile, bank regulators seized Kern Central Credit Union of Bakersfield, Calif. The Journal said the institution served farm workers and had a large concentration of auto loans. Officials said Self-Help Federal Credit Union of Durham, N.C., assumed Kern's $34.9 million in assets and all of its liabilities.

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