While Greenwich Time editor Dave McCucumber stil refuses to provide her with copies of her own stories (they’re ours,” he insists, “and we can do what we like with them” – like erase them – that’s a nice way to help a fired reported find new work, Dave), Teri graciously sent along this article that would have appeared over on the Elm Street rag, were she still there.
J.C. Flowers Exec says FDIC will allow single private investment firms to buy failed banks this year
by Teri Buhl
The FDIC is meeting with private equity titans today to talk about the
rules around private investment firms buying failed banks. Reuters was first
to report the pow-wow and quoted industry sources who said they don’t expect
the FDIC to make big changes to the rules <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62G50O20100317>
. Some of the tension between the FDIC, the OCC, and the private equity firms
centers around the percent of ownership individual P.E. firms can own in
banks and the higher levels of capital they are currently required to have
if they want to buy a bank. The FDIC would not admit the date of the
private meeting with industry financiers but told Reuters they will ‘issue additional clarifications’ about
Two weeks ago Dow Jones held a distressed debt restructuring and turnaround
summit in New York where industry leaders talked about deal flow, economic
conditions, and regulatory or legal issues involved in buying bankrupt
companies. Industry speakers second the view that there will definitely be
more opportunity for private investment firms to buy failed banks because
of the number of banks expected to continue to fail this year.
John Oros, managing director at J.C. Flowers & Co. who runs a fund that
invests in financial firms, told this reporter in an interview at the
conference that he believes in 2010 single private equity firms will be
allowed to buy failed banks. Oros is the first industry vet we’ve heard say
Oros reminded us that his firm tried to bid twice for the assets of IndyMac
when the FDIC placed the failed bank out for bid in 2008 but were turned
down. Since his firm wasn’t allowed to buy the bank on their own, it ended up working with a group of other P.E. firms
teEquityFirm.html> including Dune Capital, Paulson & Co, George Soros, and
Michael Dell’s investment firm to successfully win the bid to buy IndyMac.
It was the first time we’d seen the regulators allow a group of private investors to
buy a failed bank and many industry veterans thought they got a sweet-heart
of a loss sharing deal. At last weeks industry conference there was
consensus that margins on buying failed banks have shrunk since last year,
but the opportunity is still a viable economic investment for distressed
For now it’s a waiting game as the FDIC works to find the best possible
solution for how to unload the droves of toxic assets it’s taken on from
loss sharing in failed bank deals and prepares for future failures.
In an interview last week, Connecticut Banking Commissioner Howard Pitken told this reporter that they are carefully watching the commercial loan portfolios of banks in Fairfield County. He told this reporter there is concern about default levels in some local banks but they are trying to get ahead of the problems before failures occur. He would not name which banks he is currently worried could fail because of their troubled commercial loan book. Patriot Bank and Darien Rowayton Bank have both needed private investor funding as they neared collapse, but if they were seized and placed under FDIC conservatorship it is unlikely a single private equity firm would have been able to take control of the failed banks.