Eric Dash, of the New York Times, posted a fascinating article on the pathology of a financial crisis. It includes information discovered by government investigators who are performing financial autopsies on over 100 banks that have collapsed in the United States. They have already looked at over 40 financial intuitions with 75 more to go.
The coroner’s report left no doubt as to the cause of death: toxic loans.
That was the conclusion of a financial autopsy that federal officials performed on Haven Trust Bank, a small bank in Duluth, Ga., that collapsed last December, Eric Dash writes in The New York Times.
In what sounds like an episode of “CSI: Wall Street,” dozens of government investigators — the coroners of the financial crisis — are conducting post-mortems on failed lenders across the nation. Their findings paint a striking portrait of management missteps and regulatory lapses.
At bank after bank, the examiners are discovering that state and federal regulators knew lenders were engaging in hazardous business practices but failed to act until it was too late. At Haven Trust, for instance, regulators raised alarms about lax lending standards, poor risk controls and a buildup of potentially dangerous loans to the boom-and-bust building industry. Despite the warnings — made as far back as 2002 — neither the bank’s management nor the regulators took action. Similar stories played out at small and midsize lenders from Maryland to California.