Like a phoenix, Orange County rises again

Out of the ashes of the subprime meltdown -- new life: An FDIC headquarters for managing the shutdown of failed financial institutions

Published November 20, 2008 3:01PM (EST)

There is hope for Orange County, "The Subprime Lending Stupidity Capital of the United States." The L.A. Times reported on Wednesday that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had leased 200,000 feet of office space in Irvine, Calif., for "a temporary office that will manage receiverships and liquidate assets from failed financial institutions in the western United States." (Thanks to Calculated Risk for the tip.)

Too many ironies here to count. The FDIC, I think, is making a wise operational decision to locate its office near where the action is, (or was) -- Orange County was the living, breathing heart of dodgy subprime lenders. But it's also a sound financial decision.

In choosing Irvine, the agency is benefiting from Orange County's depressed office market, which has been hurt by the collapse in recent years of New Century Financial Corp., Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and other financial companies.

What does Orange County get out of the bargain? Jobs -- 600 of them, a welcome boost in a cratering local economy.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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