Board Packets: How Much Is Too Much?

board-packets-5-19-16.pngThe first time I sat on a bank board was in 1984, and I remember the board packet being around 50 to 60 pages. I recently saw a board packet for a bank that was over 600 pages, and on top of that was another 300 pages for the holding company. Considering that most banks have monthly board meetings, it’s like having to read War and Peace or Moby Dick each month.

People like to say that these monstrous board packets are really for the regulators, and while it might be largely true, it’s not entirely true. The true purpose is to help the board provide proper oversight, and even if regulators never saw the monthly board packets, directors still need to know what’s going on at the bank. And as regulations keep multiplying, so must board packets keep getting bigger to show directors that the bank is, in fact, complying with all the new rules and regulations.

One issue is how much of these 500 to 1,000 pages a director should read. I’ve never conducted a survey, but I’m pretty certain that very few directors read the whole thing. The truth is that each board member picks and chooses what he or she thinks are the most important pages to read. This might not be ideal, but I think it’s realistic.

What about the beginning of the board packet, which often contains the minutes of the previous meeting? I’ve always believed that the minutes are a director’s one best defense against being accused of negligence in a possible Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) lawsuit. I have heard many people over the years say, “You’re never going to get in trouble if the minutes show you asking questions, challenging management, and generally being a prudent overseer of the bank and the risk it takes.” I accepted this as truth, but I’m not certain anymore. I know someone who was on the board of a $12 billion asset California thrift that failed in 2008. The thrift had done loads of option adjustable rate mortgages, teaser rates and all, and this one director kept questioning the wisdom of these loans. It got to the point that the chairman/CEO found his skepticism so irritating that he tried to get him off the board.

With this director’s questions and doubts about the lending strategy splashed all over the board minutes, I’m sure he felt immune from any problems when the thrift failed. Apparently, none of this mattered. He was named with everyone else in the FDIC lawsuit, and seven years later, when he tried to start a new bank, he was told his application wouldn’t be approved because he was on the board of a failed thrift.

Regardless of how big board packets have gotten, it’s important that directors get them as much in advance as possible. What I really don’t get are those banks where the directors get the board packet the day they show up for the board meeting. I know two such banks. The owner of one of the banks is also the chairman, and the other directors don’t own any stock, so maybe they feel as if they have no real power. What I’d wonder about, though, is what happens if things fall apart. If either bank were to fail, I suspect it would come out that directors didn’t get their packets in advance. And I suspect that would be deemed unsafe and unsound in any FDIC lawsuit.

Is there anything to be done about this monthly tidal wave of pages to read? Aside from asking to receive board packets a few days in advance, a table of contents could help. That way, a director could know exactly where to go to choose those areas he really wants to read in depth. A second idea is executive summaries for each section. Another solution is for a board to pick a different topic each month to put greater emphasis on. If the board members knew that this month there would be an emphasis on, say, mortgage lending, they could read the pages covering that topic in depth before the meeting. Over the course of a year, they might read those parts of the packet they otherwise might not read.

A third possible solution is to have one page at the front with 20-30 of the most important ratios. They could be shown for the current month as well as the previous 12 months so that directors could easily spot trends and see where things might be deteriorating. Each metric could also have a maximum or minimum, and if any of them are exceeded, they could be highlighted in red. That way, even a director who didn’t read the other 499 ages could read this one page and see where the bank had serious problems that needed to be discussed. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out what those key ratios should be. Capital ratios and levels of non-performing loans would be two of the most important, and obvious, ones. A side benefit to this key metrics page is that it would make it impossible for management to steer the board away from difficult issues. Instead of the bad news being buried in the third paragraph on page 423, it would be right there, a bright red flag on page 1.

I will say that we’ve made great progress in going electronic. The days of lugging around thick binders seems mostly a thing of the past. But electronic board packets don’t make the packet shorter. Quite the opposite. It just makes it easier to put loads of information in there because there is less paper to photocopy.

Reading a 1,000-page board packet will never be as enjoyable as, say, reading Moby Dick or War and Peace. But we all do the best we can, reading as much as we have time for, skimming some parts and probably skipping some sections entirely. And with some of the improvements suggested here, perhaps it can work even better.

FDIC Lawsuits Increase in Fourth Quarter, Many Target Smaller Banks and Thrifts

cstone-dec12-wp.pngThis is the fourth in a series of reports that analyzes the characteristics of professional liability lawsuits filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) against directors and officers of failed financial institutions.

Report Summary

  • The pace of FDIC D&O lawsuit filings has increased in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to earlier in the year. The number of lawsuits filed in 2012 exceeds the total filed in 2010 and 2011.
  • On December 7, three former officers of IndyMac’s Homebuilder Division were found liable for $169 million in damages in connection with 23 loans. This was the first FDIC D&O lawsuit associated with the 2008 financial crisis to go to trial.
  • While there has been a continued decline in FDIC seizures throughout 2012, the number of problem financial institutions has not declined as rapidly.
  • Institutions that are subject to D&O litigation have historically been larger (in terms of assets) with higher estimated costs of failure than the average failed financial institution. The FDIC’s recently filed D&O lawsuits have targeted smaller institutions.
  • Named defendants primarily continue to be CEOs, then (in declining order of frequency) chief credit officers, chief loan officers, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, and chief banking officers. Outside directors continue to be named along with inside directors in a large majority of the new filings.
  • Regulatory management ratings and composite CAMELS (capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to market risk) ratings of institutions that are subject to D&O lawsuits do not appear to have deteriorated until one to two years before failure.

FDIC Lawsuits: Avoiding the Worst Outcome

hard-hat.jpghard-hat.jpghard-hat.jpgIn the wake of over 400 bank failures since the beginning of 2008, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is well underway with its process of seeking recoveries from directors and officers of failed banks who the FDIC believes breached their duties in the course of managing those institutions. As of mid-May 2012, the FDIC had filed lawsuits against almost 30 groups of directors and officers alleging negligence, gross negligence and/or breaches of fiduciary duties. While the litigation filed by the FDIC tends to sensationalize certain actions of the directors and officers in order to better the FDIC’s case, there are lessons to be learned.

Some of the take-aways from the FDIC lawsuits are fairly mechanical:  carefully underwrite loans, avoid excessive concentrations and manage your bank’s transactions with insiders. However, there are two major themes that are more nuanced and which are present in almost all of the lawsuits. Those themes relate to the loan approval process and director education.

Develop a thoughtful loan approval process. As evidenced by the recent piece published on, a spirited debate among industry advisors is currently taking place with respect to whether directors should approve loans or not. On the one hand, many attorneys believe directors have a duty to consider and approve (or decline to approve) certain credits that are or would be material to their banks. Regulation O requires approval of certain credits, the laws of some states require approval of some loans, and there is a general feeling among many bank directors that they should be directly involved in the credit approval process. In addition, many bank management teams believe that directors should “buy in” with them to material credit transactions.

On the other hand, the FDIC litigation clearly focuses on loan committee members who approved individual loans that did not perform. This should give pause to directors in general and loan committee members in particular. It is now the belief of many legal practitioners that the practice of approving individual loans when the loans are not otherwise required to be approved by the directors paints a target on the backs of the loan committee members. The FDIC may be able to target directors who participated in the underwriting of a credit (or were deemed to have done so given their involvement in the approval process) when they did not have the expertise necessary to do so. Some practitioners argue that the directors should instead focus on the development and approval of loan policies that place appropriate limits on the types of loans—and the amounts—that the bank is willing to make. This policy would be consistent not only with safe and sound banking principles but also with the board’s risk tolerance, and it would be appropriate to seek guidance from management and outside advisors on the development of the policy. The idea is that it is much more difficult to criticize a policy than an individual credit decision with the benefit of hindsight.

No matter the approach that your board chooses, the common theme is that the board and the loan committee should expect and receive all relevant information from management about material credits. If directors are actually approving loans, they should get detailed information in a timely fashion that allows them to review and approve the underwriting of the credit. If the directors aren’t approving loans, they should still get information that confirms that the loans conform to the bank’s loan policy and the board’s risk appetite.

Directors should be educated and informed. Above all else, the FDIC lawsuits make clear that the bank board is certainly no longer a social club. Bank directors are charged with very real responsibilities and face the very real prospect of personal liability if their banks are not successful. Indeed, being a bank director is a job.

Because the bank’s shareholders and regulators demand that the directors do a job for the bank, the bank should offer appropriate training to do that job well. Bank directors should be offered the opportunity to engage outside consultants to provide training for the directors to develop the skills they need, particularly at the committee level. In addition, directors should attend conferences that allow them to familiarize themselves with industry trends and best practices. We suggest that there is no better expense for the bank than ensuring that its directors are equipped with the education and tools they need to fulfill their duties.

In addition to more general training, the FDIC lawsuits bring focus to the fact that some directors simply did not understand the material risks to their banks. We have encountered directors who do not fully understand the material risks their institutions face, even at high performing banks. As a result, we recommend that at least annually the directors have a special session to focus on enterprise risk management and discuss the key risks that face the institution. These sessions can be conducted by the chief risk officer or, at smaller banks, by an outside consultant who has helped to manage the enterprise risk management process. This understanding of material risks should better inform the decision making of the board.

While the FDIC lawsuits paint a picture of inattentive, runaway directors and officers, a number of the practices that the FDIC found objectionable could be found at many healthy institutions. By learning from the situations that led to many of these lawsuits, even the best performing banks can enhance the performance of their boards, which will ultimately result in greater value to the shareholders of the bank.

Lessons Learned from FDIC Lawsuits

As bank failures went on the rise after the crisis of 2008, so did lawsuits from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The target of many of these lawsuits has been both the management of banks, but also independent directors, which can be a scary thought for anyone serving on a bank board today. So what can we learn from this moving forward? Based on the responses Bank Director received from lawyers across the country, the “best practices” today can still be summarized by the same timeless instructions: make sure your board is engaged, get a good directors and officers (D&O) insurance policy, and document, document, document!  

What is the most important lesson that bank boards should learn from the surge in FDIC lawsuits, and how should this be institutionalized in the form of a best practice?

William-Stern.jpgSome things never change, and it’s never too late to re-learn old lessons. Directors must remain independent, informed and involved in their institution’s affairs. It’s not enough to simply attend board meetings. Directors need to read materials provided by management, ask questions and actively participate in board discussions. And they should make sure their participation is accurately reflected in the minutes. Special care should be taken when considering transactions with insiders and affiliates, and directors should always require detailed presentations from management regarding steps to address regulatory criticisms raised in examinations or otherwise. In addition, professional advice and expertise should be sought when addressing complex issues or other out of the ordinary course matters, and fully documented when appropriate. 

—William Stern, Goodwin Procter

Gregory-Lyons.jpgGiven that the FDIC  has authorized lawsuits in a significant number of failed bank cases, directors are appropriately concerned about liability.  I continue to believe that ensuring fulfillment of the two underpinnings of the business judgment rule—the duty of loyalty and the duty of care—remain a director’s best defense against such actions.  The bank can help institutionalize that as a best practice by providing full board packages in a timely manner, strongly encouraging attendance at meetings, and making internal and external experts and counsel available to board members.

—Gregory Lyons, Debevoise & Plimpton

John-Gorman.jpgThere has been a surge in FDIC lawsuits because there has been a surge in bank failures and FDIC losses due to the financial market meltdown and the great recession. Perhaps the most important lessons for bank boards are that 1) capital is KING and 2) process is KING. Moreover, a board has to be diligent and honest in terms of assessing management performance and replacing management as needed. Finally, and as discussed above, a board’s fiduciary obligations require that adequate systems be in place to monitor compliance with laws, regulations and policies and that boards be informed and engaged and take action as necessary when red flags indicate issues or problems in certain areas. A cardinal sin in banking, which mirrors this fiduciary obligation, is to have regulatory violations repeated, i.e., uncorrected. Uncorrected violations are probably the single most cause of civil money penalties against banks and their boards.

—John Gorman, Luse Gorman

Douglas-McClintock.jpgFrom a legal standpoint, a best practice is threefold. First, maintain capital levels substantially higher than the minimum levels necessary to qualify as well-capitalized, even if it causes the bank’s return on equity (ROE) to suffer. Second, make sure that the bank’s charter and by-laws provide the maximum legal indemnification protection permitted under the applicable law, including providing for advancement of funds during litigation to defend the directors. And third, be sure to maintain an adequate directors and officers liability policy with no regulatory exclusion, so the insurance company has an obligation to defend FDIC claims. The only good protection from a storm surge such as this is a good wall of defenses and a plan of retreat!

—Doug McClintock, Alston + Bird

Victor-Cangelosi.jpgExcessive concentration of credit risk is a recurring theme in FDIC lawsuits.  Boards need to monitor on an ongoing basis significant credit risk concentrations, whether it be in type of loan, type of borrower, geographical concentration, etc.  Management reports to the board should address these and other concentration risks inherent in the institution’s loan portfolio.

—Victor Cangelosi, Kilpatrick Townsend

Mark-Nuccio.jpgDirectors should pay attention to their D&O insurance. All policies are not equal and the insurance markets are constantly evolving. Banks and their boards should consider involving experts in the negotiation of the policy terms and cost. Independent directors may want special counsel to be involved. Beyond paying attention to D&O insurance, directors need to pay more attention—pure and simple. The recent case brought by the FDIC against directors of Chicago-based defunct Broadway Bank criticizes the directors for not digging into lending policies or the details of lending relationships and deferring entirely to management. Documenting involvement is almost as important as the involvement itself.

—Mark Nuccio, Ropes & Gray

Trends in FDIC Lawsuits Against Directors and Officers

cornerstone-wp.pngThis is the second in a series of articles that examines statistics and offers commentary on the characteristics of professional liability lawsuits filed to date by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) against directors and officers of failed financial institutions. Here is a summary of some of our findings. For a full report with charts, click here.


Seizures of banks and thrifts by regulatory authorities have subsided in 2012 relative to the levels in 2011 and 2010. From January through late April 2012, 22 financial institutions have been seized. If the current pace of seizures continues throughout the year, 69 financial institutions will be seized in 2012, compared to 92 seizures in 2011 and 157 seizures in 2010. In contrast, the FDIC has been intensifying its litigation activity associated with failed financial institutions, filing 11 lawsuits through late April 2012, compared with 16 lawsuits in all of 2011. If filings continue at the current pace, an additional 24 lawsuits will be filed this year.

Overall, from July 2, 2010, through April 20, 2012, the FDIC filed 29 lawsuits against directors and officers of 28 failed institutions. As we observed previously, these lawsuits continued to target the officers and directors of financial institutions that had a large asset base and a high estimated cost of failure. Aggregate damages claimed in the complaints totaled $2.4 billion and were typically based on losses related to commercial real estate (CRE) lending, and acquisition, development and construction (ADC) lending.

Summary of Findings

  • To date, 6 percent of financial institutions that have failed since 2007 have been the subject of FDIC lawsuits. The 28 financial institutions targeted in lawsuits had median total assets of $973 million, compared with median total assets of approximately $241 million for all failed institutions. Six of these institutions had total assets of more than $3 billion. An additional seven had total assets between $1 billion and $3 billion. None had assets less than $100 million.
  • Geographically, the largest concentration of financial institution failures between 2007 and April 2012 occurred in Georgia, Florida, Illinois and California. The percentage of FDIC lawsuits targeting failed institutions in Georgia, Illinois and California is similarly high and in fact, slightly higher than the percentage of failed institutions in these states. Florida is currently the exception, with only one FDIC lawsuit related to the failure of a Florida institution.
  • Defendants named in the 29 filed lawsuits included 239 former directors and officers. In nine of these cases, only inside directors and officers were named as defendants. Outside directors were named as defendants in addition to inside directors and officers in the remaining 20 lawsuits. CEOs were named as defendants in 26 cases. Other officers commonly named as defendants included CFOs (five cases), chief loan officers (nine cases), chief credit officers (nine cases), chief operating officers (six cases), and chief banking officers (two cases). In addition, three lawsuits named insurance companies as defendants, and one case identified a law firm as a defendant. Three cases also included spouses of the directors and officers as named defendants. Although we do not address separate suits that may be brought only against other associated parties, such as accountants, appraisers or brokers, these parties are also potentially subject to litigation by the FDIC.Allegations of negligence, gross negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty were made in 26, 26 and 23 of the lawsuits, respectively.

Losses on CRE and ADC loans were the most common bases for alleged damages. Seventeen of the complaints identified CRE loans as a basis for the damages claim and fifteen identified ADC loans as a basis. Despite the widespread problems in residential lending and residential real estate markets, fewer lawsuits focused on those types of lending.

As of April 27, 2012, three of the 29 lawsuits have settled:

FDIC as Receiver of Corn Belt Bank and Trust Company v. Stark et al. settled on May 24, 2011, with settlement details remaining undisclosed.

FDIC as Receiver for First National Bank of Nevada v. Dorris and Lamb, which claimed damages of $193 million, settled on October 13, 2011, with the two officers and director defendants each agreeing to pay $20 million. The defendants assigned their rights to collect from the insurer to the FDIC. The FDIC’s success in collecting from the insurer is unknown.

FDIC as Receiver for Washington Mutual Bank v. Killinger et al. agreed to settle in late-2011 with three former executives agreeing to pay $64 million in total. The case was dismissed by the court on April 26, 2012.


About the Authors

Abe Chernin is a senior manager in the San Francisco office of Cornerstone Research; Catherine J. Galley is a senior vice president of Cornerstone Research in the firm’s Los Angeles office; Yesim C. Richardson is a vice president in the firm’s Boston office; and Joseph T. Schertler is a senior consultant in the firm’s Menlo Park office.

Characteristics of FDIC Lawsuits against Directors & Officers of Failed Financial Institutions

As widely reported in the press, seizures of banks and thrifts by regulatory authorities began to subside in 2011. Throughout the year, 92 institutions were seized compared with 157 in 2010 and 140 in 2009. In contrast, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation professional liability lawsuits targeting failed financial institutions began to increase in 2011. These are lawsuits in which the FDIC, as receiver for failed financial institutions, brings professional liability claims against directors and officers of those institutions and against other related parties, such as accounting firms, law firms, appraisal firms or mortgage brokers.


From July 2, 2010, through January 27, 2012, the FDIC filed 21 lawsuits related to 20 failed institutions (two of the 21 lawsuits were associated with IndyMac Bank, F.S.B). Of the 21 lawsuits, two were filed in 2010, 16 in 2011, and three in January 2012. Aggregate damages claimed in the complaints totaled $1.98 billion. 

cs-exh1-1.12.pngOn average, the FDIC waited 2.2 years to file a lawsuit related to a failed financial institution, although the majority of recent FDIC lawsuits were filed more quickly.




To date, only 4.7 percent of financial institutions that failed since 2007 have been the subject of FDIC lawsuits (20 out of a total of 424 bank failures). These lawsuits have tended to target larger failed institutions. The 20 banks named in lawsuits had median total assets of $882 million compared with median total assets of $241 million for all failed institutions. Furthermore, the 20 bank failures had a median estimated cost to the FDIC of $179 million at the time of seizure. This compares with the median estimated cost of failure of $60 million for all failed banks.


The FDIC lawsuits to date have included those related to the two largest failed institutions (Washington Mutual and IndyMac). However, there are many other large or costly failures that have not yet been the target of FDIC lawsuits. In particular, many of the most costly failures that occurred in 2008 and 2009 have not yet resulted in FDIC lawsuits. Given statute of limitations restrictions, these would seem to be the most likely candidates for FDIC lawsuits in the near future. 





Each federal banking regulator was the primary supervisor for at least one of the institutions targeted by an FDIC lawsuit. Among the 20 sued institutions, two were savings associations regulated by the former Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), two were nationally chartered commercial banks regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), 14 were state-chartered nonmember banks supervised by the FDIC, and two were state-chartered member banks supervised by the Federal Reserve Board.

The geographic mix of lawsuits has paralleled the location of failed institutions, with the largest concentrations in Georgia, Illinois and California. One exception is Florida, where a large percentage of failed financial institutions were located (60 banks or 14 percent of all failures since 2007), but where no FDIC lawsuits have been filed to date.


Defendants and Claims

Defendants named in the 21 filed lawsuits included 178 former directors and officers. In six of these cases, only inside directors and officers were named as defendants. Outside directors were named as defendants in addition to inside directors and officers in the remaining 15 lawsuits. CEOs were named as defendants in 18 cases. Other officers commonly named as defendants included CFOs (four cases), chief loan officers (eight cases), chief credit officers (six cases), chief operating officers (four cases), and a chief banking officer (one case). In addition, three lawsuits named insurance companies as defendants, and one case identified a law firm as a defendant. Three cases also included spouses of the directors and officers as named defendants.

Allegations of negligence, gross negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty were made in 19, 18, and 18 of the lawsuits, respectively.

Damages Claimed

In 19 of the 21 complaints, the FDIC explicitly claimed damages amounts ranging from $20,000 to over $600 million. The average and median damages claims were $104 million and $40 million, respectively.

Losses on commercial real estate (CRE) loans and acquisition, development and construction (ADC) loans were the most common bases for alleged damages. Twelve of the complaints identified CRE loans as a basis for the damages claim and nine identified ADC loans as a basis. Despite the widespread problems in residential lending and residential real estate markets, fewer lawsuits focused on those types of lending.


As of January 27, 2012, three of the 21 lawsuits have settled. FDIC as Receiver of Corn Belt Bank and Trust Company v. Stark et al. settled on May 24, 2011, with settlement details remaining undisclosed. FDIC as Receiver for First National Bank of Nevada v. Dorris and Lamb, which claimed damages of $193 million, settled on October 13, 2011, with the two officer and director defendants each agreeing to pay $20 million. Most recently, FDIC as Receiver for Washington Mutual Bank v. Killinger et al. agreed to settle with three former executives agreeing to pay $64 million in total.

Final Note

These findings do not include the many negotiations and mediation discussions the FDIC has undertaken with officers and directors of failed institutions. Statistics for these activities are unavailable. The number of lawsuits filed has yet to approach the numbers authorized by the FDIC. As of January 18, 2012, the FDIC has authorized lawsuits in connection with 44 failed institutions against 391 individuals, claiming damages of at least $7.7 billion. The difference suggests that more lawsuits may be filed before long.

Download all exhibits in PDF format.

Survivor Guilt: An Assessment of Financial Crisis Lawsuits

shipwreck.jpgWhat banks have paid the piper from securities fraud lawsuits following the financial crisis?

So far, the biggest losers have been Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. They represent more than half of the $4.4 billion paid in subprime and credit crisis-related settlements, according to Kevin LaCroix, an attorney who writes an extremely well sourced and exhaustive blog on directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance.

But what may be interesting about that fact is not so much that two banking giants have paid the biggest settlements, but that the settlements suggest surviving banks are paying more than the entities that collapsed, notes LaCroix.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo both had bigger settlements than say, Lehman Brothers, whose former executives and underwriters have settled for $507 million. Washington Mutual Inc. became the biggest bank failure in U.S. history when it collapsed into never-never land. The WaMu settlement with investors was $208.5 million, half owed by the directors and officers of the bank but paid by D&O insurance. The other half was owed by the company’s underwriter and auditor, amounting to three separate settlements, according to LaCroix.

Bank of America survived, but paid far more for it. It gobbled up a couple of losers in acquisitions: subprime mortgage aficionado Countrywide Financial and investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co., which was heading toward absolute demise. Settlements stemming from the actions of those two failed entities have amounted to $1.56 billion. Countrywide Financial amounted to the biggest chunk, $624 million in 2010, making it one of the biggest securities fraud settlements ever, according to Stanford University’s Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. The case pitted New York state pension funds and others against the bank for making misleading statements about the quality of its loan portfolio. Bank of America paid $600 million of the Countrywide settlement and Countrywide’s audit firm, KPMG, paid $24 million.

Wells Fargo, another survivor, gets the credit for an even bigger settlement: $627 million in August of last year for the Wachovia Preferred Securities action—$37 million of it paid by, again, KPMG. Wells Fargo bought Wachovia in December 2008 after Wachovia had previously acquired Golden West Financial Corp. and its notorious “pick-a-payment” loans, where the borrowers got to pick how much to pay each month. The loans still drag on Wells Fargo’s portfolio to this day. Wells Fargo’s settlements related to the crisis have totaled $827 million so far.

Of course, there are a lot of complicated factors that go into settlement amounts that have nothing to do with simple guilt. A failed bank like WaMu has insurance proceeds and the personal assets of executives and directors on the table, but that’s about it. A surviving megabank such as Wells Fargo has a lot more assets for plaintiffs to fight over.

Only about 40 cases have settled and 76 dismissed out of about 230 that have been filed relating to the credit and subprime fallout, according to LaCroix.

The years ahead will provide an opportunity to see how much survivors will have to pay for the financial crisis.