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Issues : Liability

Fewer Directors and Officers Get Sued; Pace of Bank Failures has Slowed

September 17th, 2012 |

cornerstone-0912-wp.pngThis is the third in a series of reports that examines statistics and offers commentary on the characteristics of professional liability lawsuits filed to date by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation against directors and officers of failed financial institutions.

  • In our May 2012 report, we had observed a decline in the seizures of banks and thrifts by the FDIC in 2012 relative to 2011 and 2010 levels. This decline has continued during the past four months. In the past four months, the FDIC seized 19 financial institutions. The pace of seizures in May through August is slightly less than the first four months of 2012, when the FDIC seized 22 institutions.
  • FDIC seizures in 2012 continue to be concentrated in the Southeast. Nine of the 41 institutions that failed this year were in Georgia. Since 2007, 84 institutions in Georgia have been seized, representing 18 percent of all failures. Florida has the second highest financial institution failure rate, with five failures in 2012 and 63 failures since 2007. Illinois and California follow, with 53 and 39 failures, respectively, since 2007.
  • Based on the FDIC’s estimates at the time of seizure, California—where financial institution failures have cost $21 billion since 2007—has the highest total estimated failure cost. Florida and Georgia each have more than $10 billion in estimated failure costs, followed by Illinois, Puerto Rico, and Texas.
  • While the pace of D&O lawsuits has increased in 2012 relative to previous years, the FDIC has filed new lawsuits in the past four months at a significantly slower rate than in the first four months of the year. Only three lawsuits were filed in the last four months compared with 11 in the first four months of the year.
  • To date, 7 percent of financial institutions that have failed since 2007 have been the subject of FDIC lawsuits. These lawsuits generally have targeted larger failed institutions and those with a higher estimated cost of failure. The 31 financial institutions targeted in lawsuits had median total assets of $836 million, more than 3.5 times the median size of all failed institutions and more than five times the median size of institutions active at mid-year 2012.
  • Defendants named in the 32 lawsuits the FDIC has filed since 2007 included 266 former officers and directors.

For a full copy of the latest report, click here.

Abe Chernin is a senior manager in the San Francisco office of Cornerstone Research.

Catherine J. Galley is a senior vice president in Cornerstone Research’s Los Angeles office.

Yesim C. Richardson is a vice president in Cornerstone Research’s Boston office.

Joseph T. Schertler is a senior consultant in Cornerstone Research's Menlo Park office.