BankNotes ...

Third Quarter 2009 FDIC Banking Profile

Posted by Wendell Brock on Wed, Nov 25, 2009

FDIC member institutions' earnings improved this quarter to a modest $2.8 billion, which is significant over last quarter's net loss of $4.3 billion and third quarter of 2008 of $879 million. Loan loss provision continued to affect the profitability of the industry as banks continued to cover their bad assets. Growth in securities and operating income helped the industry realize the profit, with 43 percent of the institutions reporting higher profits this quarter over the same quarter last year.  Just over one in four banks reported losses this quarter of 26.4 percent, which is slightly up from 24.6 percent a year ago.

Net Interest Margin, ALLL

Net interest was higher this quarter, rising to a four-year high of 4.6 billion. The average net interest margin (NIM) was 3.51 percent, slightly higher than last quarter. Most banks, 62.1 percent, reported higher NIM than last quarter; however only 42.2 percent had an NIM increase year over year. Provisions for loan and lease losses increased and total set aside, remained over $60 billion for the fourth straight quarter, rising to $62.5 billion. While the quarterly amount banks set aside was only 11.3 billion, $4.2 billion less than the second quarter, it was 22.2 percent higher than last year. Almost two out of three institutions, 62.6 percent, increased their loan loss provisions.

Net Charge Offs Remain High

Loan losses continued to mount, as banks suffered year over year increases for 11 straight quarters. Insured institutions charged off a net of $50.2 billion this quarter, a $22.6 billion increase or an 80.5 percent increase compared to third quarter of 2008. This is the highest annual charge off rate since banks began reporting this information in 1984. All major categories of loans saw significant increases in charge offs this quarter, but losses were largest amongst commercial and industrial (C&I) borrowers. While noncurrent loans continued to increase, the rate of increase slowed; noncurrent loans and leases increased $34.7 billion or 10.5 percent to $366.6 billion, which is 4.94 percent of all loans and leases. This is the highest level of noncurrent loans and leases in 26 years. The increase of noncurrent loans was the smallest in the past four quarters.

Eroding reserves

The reserve ratio increased as noncurrent loans increased, however the spread continued to widen. While the industry set aside 9.2 billion, 4.4 percent in reserves, which increased the reserve level from 2.77 percent to 2.97 percent. This increase was not enough to slow the slide - it was the smallest quarterly increase in the past four quarters and the growth in reserves lagged the growth of noncurrent loans, which caused the 14th consecutive quarterly decline in this ratio from 63.6 percent to 60.1 percent.

Loan Balances Decline Deposits Are Up

Loan and lease balances saw the largest quarterly decline since the industry started keeping track of these numbers in 1984; they fell by $210.4 billion or 2.8 percent. Total assets fell for the third straight quarter; assets at insured institutions fell by $54.3 billion, which follows a decline of $237.9 billion in the second quarter and a $303.2 billion decline in the first quarter. Deposits increased $79.8 billion or 0.4 percent during the third quarter, allowing banks to fund more loans with deposits rather than other liabilities. At the end of the quarter deposits funded bank assets was 68.7 percent, the highest level since second quarter 1997.

Troubled Banks Increase

The number of reporting insured institutions at the end of the quarter was down to 8,099  from 8,195; there were fifty bank failures and forty-seven bank mergers. This is the largest number of banks to fail since fourth quarter of 1992, when 55 banks failed. The number of banks on the FDIC's problem list increased from 416 to 552 at the end of the second quarter.

During the quarter, the number of new banks chartered was three.  This is the lowest level since World War II. This begs the question on what is the best way to get new capital into the banking industry. Should we recapitalize the existing banks including those in trouble? Or, should we start fresh with a new bank that can build a new, clean loan portfolio?

Another Item

CREED - a 501(c)3 nonprofit has started a Crowdfunding project/contest to help a small business - Look at the opportunity to be a part of something truly great! We will follow this closely as we are strong supporters of CREED.


Topics: Interest Rates, FDIC, banks, Community Bank, FDIC’s, Loans, Bank Capital, CREED, capital, equity capital, De Novo Banks, Noncurrent loans, community banks, Crowfunding

The FDIC’s NEW Advisory Committee on Community Banking

Posted by Wendell Brock on Fri, Oct 16, 2009

In May of 2009, the FDIC authorized the creation of an Advisory Committee Community Banking with the purpose that this committee would help the FDIC understand the particular issues that small rural and urban community banks face in the ever-changing financial landscape.

The committee is consists of no more than 20 volunteer members from the community banks around the country along with small business, education, non-for-profit organizations and other individuals that use the services of these community banks. It is expected that the committee will have an annual budget of $300,000 and two full time FDIC staff people committed to serving their needs. The committee charter will last for two years unless it is renewed by the FDIC. The committee will also report directly to the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the FDIC.

The committee's first meeting was this week and below is the press release from that meeting. At the bottom is a link to the FDIC website where more information may be obtained about the meeting. We hope this positive for the community banking sector as they struggle under the weight of very difficult regulations, limited budgets, and with razor thin margins. They are scheduled to meet twice a year, so the next meeting should be in April.

Press Release from the Advisory Committee on Community Banking

At its first meeting since being established by the FDIC Board in May, the FDIC's Advisory Committee on Community Banking today discussed the impact of the financial crisis on community banks. Other issues addressed were regulatory reform proposals under consideration by Congress and their effect on community banks, the impact of FDIC supervisory proposals on these banks, and community banks' perspectives on funding the FDIC's Deposit Insurance Fund.

"I was extremely pleased with the robust discussion among our committee members on issues that are so critical to both the FDIC and our nation's community banks," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair. "The committee members voiced a number of interesting ideas that they will pursue."

The Advisory Committee was formed to provide the FDIC with advice and recommendations on a broad range of policy issues with particular impact on small community banks throughout the nation, and the local communities they serve. The committee is comprised of 14 community bankers from across the country, and one representative from academia.

"We are fortunate to have so many highly respected professionals who are willing to volunteer their time and talents to help the FDIC analyze the issues most important to community banks," said Paul Nash, Deputy to the Chairman for External Affairs, and the Designated Federal Official for the Advisory Committee on Community Banking.

The members' opinions on the FDIC's proposed rulemaking to prepay three years of deposit insurance assessments will be included in the public comment file.

For more information on the Advisory Committee on Community Banking please visit

Topics: FDIC, Community Bank, Banking industry, Bank Regulators, Commercial Banks, Regulations, Bank Regulations, FDIC Advisory Committee

Spotting Risk in Community Bank Acquisition Targets

Posted by Wendell Brock on Fri, Oct 09, 2009

In the beginning of 2009, the media was pushing the idea that this would be the year for the community bank. Many smaller banks had not weighted down their balance sheets with subprime loans, asset-backed securities and complex derivatives. In theory, they had the stability to pick up loan customers that had been turned away by larger institutions. Columbus Business First published an article entitled, "Larger competitors' retrenchment may give smaller banks opening." And Business Week said, "As big banks struggle, community banks are stepping in to offer loans and lines of credit to small business customers."

Getting in to the banking industry during a power shift from big banks to small ones would appear to be an attractive opportunity for bank executives and community leaders who wish to be bank investors. But the predictions of a few publications don't sufficiently address the risk involved in buying a bank. Bank investors need to have some framework for separating the good targets from the bad ones.

Characteristics of at-risk community banks

In a speech made last July, San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen summarized the characteristics of at-risk community banks. She cited:

  • High concentrations of construction loans for speculative housing projects
  • Concentrations of land acquisition and development loans
  • Poor appraisal systems
  • Weak risk-monitoring systems

Looking ahead, Yellen also identified "income-producing office, warehouse, and retail commercial property" as an area of potential risk. She cited rising vacancies and poor rent dynamics, which are putting negative pressures on property values. These value declines can be particularly problematic for maturing loans that need to be refinanced. Community banks that maintain large portfolios of commercial property loans should be proactively managing these risks. Bank acquisition groups should verify that target banks are updating property appraisals, recognizing impairments early, and negotiating work-outs with borrowers when appropriate.

Tim Coffey, Research Analyst for FIG Partners, LLC, agrees that commercial real estate is the next area of risk for banks. In an interview, Coffey said,

I think the residential portion of this correction has been dealt with and recognized by bankers and market participants alike. The next shoe to drop is going to be commercial real estate. I don't think there is really any kind of argument about that. How messy it's going to be compared to the residential part remains to be seen.

Coffey's comment was included in a report by The Wall Street Transcript that also quoted commentary from other banking analysts. The consensus among them was that some community banks are still facing potentially disastrous problems ahead.

Separating the good acquisition targets from the bad ones, then, requires careful analysis of the balance sheet, loan portfolio and the bank's current risk management practices. If the bank isn't managing risk proactively, there could be unknown problems brewing within the loan portfolio. Buying a bank with known problem assets is a manageable challenge-but buying a bank with unknown problem assets is something else entirely.

Topics: Community Bank, mergers and Aquisistions, bank acquisition, Loans, organizers, Bank Mergers, bank investors, Troubled Banks, De Novo Banks, mergers

Building Stronger Communities through Bank Acquisitions

Posted by Wendell Brock on Thu, Aug 13, 2009

The decision to acquire a bank in an underserved community is ultimately based on the investment value of the target bank. But determining that investment value is a tricky proposition; a low-income neighborhood may not offer much appeal currently, but infuse that low-income neighborhood with capital, and the situation might look quite different.

Residents of underbanked communities typically have their financial needs fulfilled by payday loan stores, check cashing establishments, and even unlicensed predatory lenders. The expense associated with these services creates inefficiencies in the cycling of cash within the community. In other words, predatory lenders can drain more money out of the community—through high finance and service charges—than they put into it.

A banking institution, however, can have the opposite effect. When a bank reaches out to underbanked consumers and educates them on the advantages of keeping a deposit account, that bank is also compiling assets that will be returned to the community in the form of loans. Those lend-able funds are the building blocks of home ownership and local business development.

Financial education creates financial efficiencies

Studies have repeatedly shown that financial education is a huge component of attracting and retaining underbanked consumers. A bank that operates effectively in a previously underserved community isn’t limited to showing consumers how to reduce their finance charges, however. The bank can also initiate programs to help consumers develop more efficient budgeting, spending, savings and even tax planning habits. Over time, those cumulative household savings can also be directed back into the community, through discretionary spending.

With a creative vision and effective outreach and education programs, then, a newly acquired bank can anchor a turnaround within an underserved community.

Overcoming the failures of previous banks

The challenges in initiating such a turnaround are large, but not insurmountable. If the target bank is already located within the underserved community, the bank organizers need to understand why that institution wasn’t previously effective. The product and service set, the brand image and the marketing programs (to name a few) need to be overhauled to address the needs and wants of local consumers.

If the target bank is to be relocated to the underserved area, the bank organizers must try to gain some insight from the history of banking in that community. Did previous banks or branches fail? If so, why?

Underserved communities and unbanked consumers obviously aren’t the low-hanging fruit of the banking industry. However, initiating real and positive change within a community is an endeavor that can be both rewarding and profitable. And, because there are many underserved locales in the U.S., the group of bank organizers that defines a workable model for one community has ample opportunity to roll out variations of that model to other areas.

Next week, we’ll discuss marketing strategies for attracting and retaining underbanked consumers.

Topics: bank buy out, Bank Opportunities, Community Bank, failed banks, Buy a bank, mergers and Aquisistions, underserved communities, bank acquisition, Bank Buyers, bank aquisition, underserved areas

The FDIC's Bank Insurance Fund

Posted by Wendell Brock on Thu, Sep 04, 2008

The FDIC's mission to maintain stability in the U.S. banking system is partially fulfilled by the deposit insurance program. The FDIC collects premiums from banking institutions to fund the deposit insurance; these premiums are calculated as a percentage of each bank's total deposits. Most banks today are paying out insurance premiums of about 5 to 7 cents for every $100 of domestic deposits.   

The premiums, less operating costs, go into the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) which is used to cover the deposit losses of failed banks. Since the existence of a viable deposit insurance program is of critical importance in maintaining the public's faith in the banking system, the FDIC is continually assessing the risks of bank failures and projecting potential expenses that may be charged to the DIF.

Rising losses could signal rising fees

This year, the FDIC has been appointed the receiver for ten banks with total assets just over $40 billion. Not all of these assets translate to losses in the DIF however. Part of the FDIC's function as receiver is to sell off the assets of the failed banks, thus recouping losses to the DIF. It is estimated that the losses to the DIF associated with those ten bank failures will amount to $7.5 billion, meaning that more than 80 percent of the total assets should be recovered.

Even so, the FDIC's list of problem banks is growing. As of the end of the second quarter, there were 117 banks on the "problem" list, up from 90 at the end of the first quarter and 61 at the end of the second quarter of 2007. To address the rising number of at-risk banks, the FDIC increased its provisions for insurance losses by $10.2 billion during the second quarter; this was the largest factor behind the $7.6 billion decrease in the fund, which ended the quarter at $45.2 billion (unaudited). Since insured deposits only rose 0.5 percent in the same time period, the reserve ratio fell to 1.01 percent as of June 30, 2008. The reserve ratio has not been this low since 1995, when the combined Bank Insurance Fund (BIF) and Savings Account Insurance Fund (SAIF) was 0.98. The BIF and SAIF were merged in 2006.

When the reserve ratio dips below 1.15 percent, the FDIC is required by the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2005 to create a fund restoration plan that will bring the ratio back up to 1.15 percent within five years. FDIC Chairman, Sheila C. Bair, has already stated publicly that the FDIC's restoration plan is likely to incorporate an increase in the premiums the banks pay into the fund. Bair has also indicated that the FDIC will propose changes in the rate structure to shift a greater share of the responsibility onto financial institutions that participate in higher-risk activities. The current credit crisis will likely result in premium increases across the board for all banks.

An increase in FDIC insurance premiums will put more strain on banks that are already grappling with rising credit losses. While this is bad news for existing banks, it is a necessary step in maintaining the public's confidence in the banking system. Should the FDIC develop an assessment system that provides rewards to banks that engage in safer activities, at least these institutions will have the option and incentive to take some of the risk out of their operations. De novo banks may end up with an advantage in this regard, because they can open the doors with a business strategy that complies with FDIC guidelines to keep premiums low and minimize risk going forward. De Novo Banks also open without a legacy portfolio that may have some high-risk loans. Very few de novo banks fail, which is a credit to the bankers and regulators working together in an effort to build a solid foundation for the new financial institution.

For banks with problem loans in its portfolio, the best solution is to get in and meet with the borrowers early (perhaps when the borrower misses the first payment, not the third). The sooner the problems are addressed the greater opportunity for success in recovery or improvement of the loan. This might mean meeting with all borrowers as a ‘check up' on their status. It is far better for the bank to find the problem loans than the examiners.

The bank insurance fund is a critical part of our country's economic engine and is a model for the world. The fund will be stressed during this credit crisis, but we have to maintain the faith in the system that has kept our banking system safe and in good health for the past 75 years.

By Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC

Topics: FDIC, Community Bank, Bank Regulators, Quarterly Banking Report, Commercial Bank

Second Quarter 2008 FDIC Banking Profile Highlights

Posted by Wendell Brock on Wed, Aug 27, 2008

By Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC

Years ago when I was backpacking in the High Sierras, my Boy Scout leader taught me that the air temperature was coldest just before dawn. Hopefully, we are experiencing that time now and things will get better as dawn approaches, because this quarter's report is pretty ice cold! Total net income from insured banks is off 87 percent from second quarter last year to $5 billion. "Loss provisions totaled $50.2 billion, more than four times the $11.4 billion quarterly total of a year ago." Provisions drained almost one-third (31.9 percent) of the industry's operating revenue-the highest level since the third quarter of 1989. 

The average return on assets (ROA) was only 0.15 percent; in the same quarter last year, it was 1.21 percent. Larger institutions (over $1 billion in assets) suffered a bit more; their ROA was 0.10 percent. The average ROA for the smaller institutions (less than $1 billion in assets) was 0.57 percent. In the same quarter last year, the ROAs were 1.23 percent and 1.10 percent, respectively. Nearly two of three institutions (62.1 percent) reported a lower ROA this quarter. Almost 18 percent of banks, approximately 1,530 in number, were unprofitable this quarter; in the second quarter of 2007, this percentage was 9.8 percent.

Noninterest income was 10.9 percent lower than in second quarter of 2007, dipping to $60.8 billion. This decline was due in large part to lower trading income, which totaled only $5.5 billion and was down 88.6 percent from last year. A revenue bright spot showed up in net interest income, which increased by $8.2 billion (9.3 percent) over last year, with servicing fee income rising 35.9 percent or $1.9 billion. Bank customers paid more in service charges this quarter by $853 million or 8.6 percent over year-earlier levels.

Net interest margin ticked up slightly to 3.37 percent compared to the first quarter's margin of 3.33 percent. "Improvements and declines were fairly evenly divided among insured institutions, with 46.9 percent reporting lower margins than in the first quarter, and 51.5 percent reporting improved NIMs." The average yields on interest-bearing assets fell 51 basis points, from 6.27 percent to 5.76 percent. During the same quarter, the interest expense dropped 57 basis points from 2.95 percent to 2.38 percent. The industry average has remained steady within a 5-basis-point range over the last six quarters. The margins for community banks have fallen by 21 basis points, and larger institutions have gained only 10 basis points.

Net charge-offs increased sharply to a total of $26.4 billion during the quarter, which is almost three-times the $8.9 billion in the second quarter of 2007. This is the largest quarterly charge-off rate since the fourth quarter of 1991. At large institutions, the charge-off rate was 1.46 percent; at small institutions, the rate was only 0.44 percent. The annualized industry average for the quarter was 1.32 percent, considerably higher than last year's quarterly average of 0.49 percent.

The amount of noncurrent loans and leases has risen for nine consecutive quarters, increasing by $26.7 billion or 19.6 percent. In the second quarter, all major loan categories experienced increases in noncurrent loans. By quarter-end, the industry's total noncurrent loans and leases reached 2.04 percent, the highest level since the third quarter of 1993. Provisions increased for the third straight quarter, nearly doubling the amount of charge-offs. Institutions set aside $23.8 billion in provisions during the quarter and industry reserves rose by 19.1 percent. The total ratio increased from 1.52 percent to 1.80 percent, which is the highest level since mid-1996. At the same time, the coverage ratio slipped slightly from 88.9 cents for every $1.00 of noncurrent loans to 88.5 cents, which is a 15-year low.

Sixty percent of the institutions reported a decline in their total risk-based capital ratios during the quarter. The industry added only $10.6 billion to its regulatory capital during the quarter. Dividend payments were significantly lower during the quarter, totaling $17.7 billion, less than half the $40.9 billion paid a year earlier. Only 45.5 percent of the institutions reported higher retained earnings compared to a year ago. "Despite the slowdown in capital growth and the erosion in capital ratios at many institutions, 98.4 percent of all institutions (accounting for 99.4 percent of total industry assets) met or exceeded the highest regulatory capital requirements at the end of June."

Total assets declined for the first time since the first quarter of 2002 and experienced the largest quarterly decline since the first quarter of 1991. The decline totaled $118.9 billion or 11.8 percent, with nearly 40 percent of banks reported lower assets at the end of June. OREO properties (acquired by foreclosure) increased by $3.5 billion (29.1 percent) during the quarter to $15.6 billion.

Small business and farm loans increased only 3.4 percent or $25.3 billion during the 12 months ending June 30. These loans currently account for 32.7 percent of all business and farm loans to domestic borrowers. Larger business and farm loans increased by $249.4 billion or 18.4 percent during the same period. Total deposits increased only $6.9 billion or 0.1 percent during the second quarter. This was mostly from deposits in foreign offices, which rose by $46.8 billion, while domestic office deposits decreased by $39.6 billion.

Reporting institutions dropped to 8,451, equating to a loss of 43 institutions. Two banks failed during the quarter, ANB Financial in Arkansas and First Integrity in Minnesota. Three mutual banks converted to stock ownership (combined assets of $1.1 billion). The FDIC's problem bank list increased by 27 banks this quarter, from 90 banks in the first quarter to 117. This is an increase of 40 new problem banks for the year. Assets of problem banks increased from $26.3 billion to $78.3 billion. During the quarter there were 24 new charters, which brings the total of de novo banks for the year to 62.

We can only hope this is as cold as it gets before the dawn!

Note: quotes are from the FDIC second quarter 2008 report.

Topics: FDIC, Community Bank, Bank Regulators, Quarterly Banking Report, Commercial Bank

Good Business - Developing A Community Financial Center

Posted by Wendell Brock on Tue, Aug 19, 2008

Bankers have an opportunity in their communities to develop good business by doing good things. At De Novo Strategy we believe a successful bank will work to become the "Community Financial Center" of the market in which they do business. They can do this, for example, by promoting opportunities for the citizenry to improve their financial strength and security; teaching adults and children to save for their future; and offering financial education classes. These are a few of the best practices we've noticed, and we believe these efforts will help your bank succeed. We'll highlight more of these best practices as we find them in the marketplace.

As banks work to reinvent themselves into Community Financial Centers, they will attract the attention of local businesses and people who work to make a difference. Astoria Federal Savings of New York, for example, has done this with an annual essay contest for children aged 5-12. The contest, designed to help children learn to save for the future, costs Astoria Federal approximately $5,000. Considering that Astoria Federal is the fourth largest depository institution in its market, $5,000 is a relatively small price tag for a program that gives back to the community and develops loyalty from children and parents alike. What parent would not appreciate the help to teach his or her children good financial management habits? And, what child who becomes one of the many prize winners would not want to bank at such an institution? It is all good.

Choice Bank in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has also embraced the idea of becoming a Community Financial Center; Choice uses its website to promote interaction between the bank and community residents. Any community event can be posted on the bank's website, and news, weather and many other items are also posted for the public's reference. In certain circumstances, community groups may even reserve the bank's conference room for special meetings. Choice Bank is also ahead of the banking internet curve; they have a blog! The blog is used to disseminate news and information to customers, and people are allowed to make comments freely on the blog-how great is that? This open communication allows significant access to the bank's management, and shows one interpretation of what it means to be a ‘Community Financial Center'.

Starbucks Coffee changed the way Americans viewed coffee by selling it in an environment suitable for socializing, doing business and, of course, enjoying coffee. I've held many business meetings at Starbucks-even though I don't drink coffee-because the place works for business, especially for mobile business where an Internet connection is required. Banks have the opportunity, as Community Financial Centers, to develop a similar business- and people-friendly atmosphere. This would of course require a marked change from the cold marble surroundings for which many banks are known. Should more banks follow this path, people might someday be asking, "What community financial center do you use?"

P.S. if you are in Oshkosh, stop in to Choice Bank for a cup of the bank's very own Choice Bank Coffee.

By Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC
Principal, De Novo Strategy

Topics: Community Bank, De Novo Strategy, Community Financial Center, Choice Bank

Credit Unions Facing Fair Share of Troubles

Posted by Wendell Brock on Thu, Aug 07, 2008

Bank failures get the press, but credit unions are struggling too

The banks and the FDIC may be the ones getting all of the attention, but credit unions and their regulating and insuring entity, the NCUA, are also logging their share of problems. So far this year, a full twenty-one credit unions have failed. Compare this to the number of bank failures, just eight, and one has to wonder why the banks are getting a disproportionate share of media coverage.

The easy answer is the difference in the bottom line. Credit unions generally maintain a far smaller asset value relative to their for-profit counterparts. The largest credit union to undergo an NCUA-managed restructure this year was Cal State 9 Credit Union of California, whose asset base totaled $339 million. Next to the $32-billion IndyMac Bancorp. failure, it's almost understandable why Cal State 9's problems weren't worth the air time. This difference is evident in the total figures as well: the combined asset value of all eight failed banks exceeds $38 billion, while the combined assets of twenty-one failed credit unions add up to only $1.8 billion.

A closer look at the numbers, however, indicates that the current economic crisis may be hitting credit unions harder, despite their smaller size. The largest three failed banks, IndyMac, First National Bank of Nevada and ANB, managed assets totaling $32 billion, $3.4 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively. Remove these three entities from the equation and the remaining five failed banks had an average asset size of about $129 million. That $129 million is far more comparable to the average size of the failed credit union, which is roughly $87 million. Evaluating the data in terms of similar-sized operations, the scale tilts in favor of the banks, with only five failures relative to twenty-one credit union failures.

And still, the system works

Even as financial institutions struggle to recover from fractures in the mortgage, real estate and lending sectors, the federal protections have remained reliable. The deposit insurance provided by the FDIC (banks) and the NCUSIF (credit unions) continues to safeguard customer funds: when an entity fails, the FDIC and NCUA give customers immediate access to all insured deposits. Where a customer's deposits exceed insurance limitations, both the FDIC and NCUA work diligently behind the scenes to recover those funds as quickly as possible. In the days following the IndyMac failure, for example, the FDIC offered to advance customers half of their uninsured deposits immediately. The remaining amounts were transferred to customers in the form of receivership certificates, which will be converted to cash as the bank's assets are sold.  

Panic begets panic

While the customers of financial institutions may be inclined to make a run on their bank or credit union at even a whisper of instability, those panicky actions actually work against the system. The demise of IndyMac is a case in point. Prior to the bank's closure, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer wrote a letter stating his concerns about IndyMac's financial condition. The bank's customers responded by withdrawing $1.3 billion of deposits in eleven days-a swift and pronounced asset depletion that essentially cemented IndyMac's fate. Subsequently, the OTS had no choice but to step in and ask the FDIC take over IndyMac. 

The future may be bright, for some

Unfortunately, the bank and credit union failures are going to continue. Years of enthusiastic underwriting practices combined with troubled economic times are not easily overcome. In the wake of a lending crisis, the future may be brightest for de novo banks that are just now launching operations-nascent entities that aren't weighted down with a legacy portfolio that is marred by bad loans. Also, considering the current real estate market, a new bank enjoys the advantage of writing loans against lower property values. When values start heading back up, those banks will have stronger equity positions. With careful planning and thoughtful underwriting practices, today's de novo banks could be enjoying greater financial stability than most of their competitors for years to come. Given those dynamics, now may be the right time to add a de novo bank investment to your portfolio.

Topics: FDIC, Bank Failure, Community Bank, Bank Regulators, Credit Unions, De Novo Bank Capital, Credit Union Failures, Deposit Insurance, NCUA

Federal Reserve Announces Launch of National Minority-Owned Bank Program

Posted by Wendell Brock on Thu, Aug 07, 2008

The Federal Reserve System today announced the nationwide launch of Partnership for Progress, an innovative outreach and technical assistance program for minority-owned and de novo institutions.  The program seeks to help these institutions confront their unique challenges, cultivate safe and sound practices, and compete more effectively in today's marketplace through a combination of one-on-one guidance, workshops, and an extensive interactive web-based resource and information center (

"The program's overarching mission is to preserve and promote minority-owned institutions and to enhance their vital role in providing access to credit and financial services in communities that have been historically underserved," said Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. "The Federal Reserve is committed to helping minority-owned and de novo banks achieve long-term success."

Partnership for Progress provides insight on key issues in three distinct stages of a bank's life cycle: "Start a Bank," "Manage Transition," and "Grow Shareholder Value." Topics covered include credit and interest rate risk, capital and liquidity, and banking regulations. To ensure broad access to the program, all aspects of the training will be available through workshops, online courses, and the program's interactive website.

"This cutting-edge program, which draws on insights from economics, accounting, finance, and regulatory compliance, will become a valuable resource for institutions at different stages of their development," said Federal Reserve Board Governor Randall S. Kroszner.

In developing the program, Federal Reserve officials met with minority-owned and de novo banks across the country as well as trade groups, bank consultants, and state and federal banking agencies to better understand the challenges these institutions face in raising capital, growing their institutions, and attracting talent. This process provided valuable insight and contributed significantly to the design of the program, which was spearheaded by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Key concepts from the program will be incorporated into the Federal Reserve System's examiner training to provide a deeper understanding of the issues unique to minority-owned institutions.

The nationwide launch of Partnership for Progress follows a successful pilot for the program that began last fall. Questions and comments regarding the program should be directed to Marilyn Wimp at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, 215-574-4197.

Note:  While at the Minority Depository Institutions National Conference we received a preview to this program.  This will be a great help to all de novo and emerging banks.  Take a few minutes to view some of the information on the site.

Topics: Community Bank, Bank Regulators, Commercial Banks, De Novo Bank, Bank Capital, Minority Banks


Posted by Wendell Brock on Fri, Jun 06, 2008

  BarCamp Bank - Chicago

July 16, 2008 @ 9am - 4pm

A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment.  It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. This BarCamp will focus on banking in the 21st century - and how to do it better.  How can banks relate more effectively with their clients?  How are banks growing and improving their clients' business or lives? How are new and community banks creatively competing and getting results? These and many other topics will be discussed at the BarCamp Bank - Chicago.

Because a BarCamp is not intended to "make a profit" we are using CREED a registered 501(c)3 non-profit to accept the money and pay the bills.  CREED, which focuses on Economic Education and Development has an interest in improving financial education among the general population as well as bankers.

The BarCamp Bank - Chicago location will be at the Drake Hotel, a Hilton Property, and within one block of the Interagency Minority Depository Institutions National Conference (MDI Conference), being held July 16 - 18, 2008.  The MDI Conference will start with an evening cocktail party at 5:00 p.m.; there would be enough time for attendees to walk over to the MDI Conference.

BarCamp Bank - Chicago:

Site:                            The Drake Hotel

140 East Walton Place, Chicago, IL 60611, 312.787.2200

Spot:                                     $69.00 per person, (limited to 30 people)

Sponsor:                              $500.00 (limited to 3 sponsors)

Other Stuff:                        A light lunch will be served.

Current Sponsors:    De Novo Strategy, Inc.; CREED;

Topics: BarCamp Bank - Chicago will cover six topics total. 12pm - 1:00 p.m. is for sponsors to facilitate short discussions.  Sponsors may discuss recent trends in their markets, ask questions, or drive ideas by the group. Sponsors may also provide topics for the general session and assist in those discussions.  This is an open forum requiring participation from all attendees. You should expect to enjoy the engagement with your peers.

Contact: Wendell Brock, Principal
De Novo Strategy, Inc.


Topics: Chicago, Community Bank, Minority Banking, BarCampBank, Commercial Bank

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