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Banking and Finance

Failed Bank-Related Activity Looming and Other Web Notes

The lead article in the November 17, 2010 Wall Street Journal reported that the FDIC is conducting 50 criminal investigations of directors, officers and employees of failed banks. Given that (as of November 19, 2010) 314 banks have failed since January 1, 2008, this report suggests that the FDIC is investigating possible criminal charges in connection with a pretty hefty percentage of the bank failures -- about 16%, if each of the 50 investigations relates to a separate bank.

These reports of as many as 50 criminal investigations are all the more striking because up to this point, the FDIC has not conspicuously pursued criminal charges. The most prominent criminal charges filed as part of the current wave of bank failures related to the May 2010 indictment of two former officials from Integrity Bank in Alpharetta, Georgia. Integrity Bank failed in August 2008, which was fairly early in the current failed bank wave. Many more banks have failed since then, and so the FDIC may just now be completing its investigations of many of the later bank failures.

In the meantime, banks are continuing to fail. Just this last Friday night, the FDIC closed three more banks, bringing the 2010 YTD total number of bank failures to 149. (The Journal article does note that FDIC officials "expect the failure wave to peak this year.")

Obviously, the FDIC has not even had an opportunity to investigate the most recent bank failures, which suggests that the figure of investigations could grow.

Read the Failed Bank-Related Activity Looming and Other Web Notes  in its entirety at the D&O Diary, a blog by Kevin LaCroix.