Media Mentions – March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013

Authored by: Bryan Cave

With attorneys and staff worldwide, Bryan Cave attorneys are often quoted in the news.  Recent Media Mentions of Financial Institutions Group attorneys include:

Jonathan Hightower in Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor

Atlanta Associate Jonathan Hightower was quoted Feb. 18 in the Bank Safety & Soundness Advisor regarding the new push for bank regulators to focus on a more straight-forward leverage ratio to reduce financial system risk. Hightower said using the leverage ratio as a regulatory benchmark “is transparent and easy to figure out. You can compare apples to apples. If we are going to require 7 percent or 9 percent we can look at financial statements and understand that pretty quickly without peeling back the layers to go through your balance sheet or going through your business model.” On the other hand, he said, it seems hard to make a well-reasoned judgment about how much capital a particular bank should maintain without considering its risk profile. “Because bank balance sheets vary so widely…I’m not sure if a one-size-fits-all approach can be the end of the conversation.”

Rob Klingler in American Banker

Atlanta Partner Robert Klingler was quoted March 7 in American Banker concerning Old Second Bancorp in Aurora, Ill. Losses from bad real estate loans eroded Old Second’s tangible common equity, leaving it with negative tangible common equity for more than a year. But recently, the Treasury Department auctioned nearly all of its 73,000 preferred shares it had in Old Second through TARP for $24.7 million. There are questions about what happens next, including who purchased the preferred shares. Klingler said the Federal Reserve Board guards against undue influence by limiting an investor to no more than 33 percent of the total equity of an institution.

Walt Moeling in Bank Director

Atlanta Partner Walt Moeling was quoted in the first quarter issue of Bank Director concerning bank M&A in 2013. On the surface, the banking industry looks ready for a major consolidation boom with tight margins, weak loan demand, the loss of key sources of fee income and higher compliance costs. Still, Moeling said, even healthy banks worry about making a misstep. “Buyers are terrified of what they’re going to pick up,” he said. “They know if they do one lousy deal and pick up more problem assets than expected, it’s going to kill their prospects going forward.”  Click here to read the full article. 

Judith Rinearson in n>genuity

New York Partner Judith Rinearson authored an article for the spring edition of n>genuity Journal concerning why prepaid products should be regulated separately from credit and debit cards. “Prepaid is a flexible, lower-cost, payment product that provides critical financial access to thousands of consumers, in a secure and cost-effective manner,” she wrote. “Calls to regulate prepaid payments as if they are exactly the same as bank accounts are misguided. Such an approach risks stifling or even killing a popular and successful product, leaving many consumers without access to essential financial services and sending payment options back to the 1980s.”