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Twitter's First Bank Run

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It officially takes less than 140 characters to start a bank run.

Stockholm-based Swedbank issued a statement Monday that its branches in Latvia we beset by "unfounded rumors" that had led to "queues building up at ATMs as people wanted to withdraw money, which resulted in some ATMs being emptied of money."

According to the bank, rumors spread over social media venues like Twitter "that Swedbank's ATMs in Sweden were closed, that Swedbank is about to leave Latvia and that Swedbank's Latvian CEO had been arrested," none of which were true.

The bank -- which has 224 branches in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania -- said in a statement that it had "co-operated with law enforcement agencies in Latvia to identify those who have started the rumors, as spreading this kind of rumors is considered a criminal offence in Latvia."

Swedbank said that on Monday it had "worked to fill up the ATMs emptied of money," and that the work would "continue Monday evening and night and all ATMs [were expected] to be filled tomorrow morning."

There haven't been any bank runs in the U.S. since 2008, when there were some runs on Washington Mutual branches leading up to the thrift's failure in September of that year, after which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sold the nation's largest failed institution to JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report).

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

To contact the writer, click here: Philip van Doorn.

To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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