Fallout: The Financial Crisis

FDIC hesitant about private equity

Alisa Roth Aug 24, 2009
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

FDIC hesitant about private equity

Alisa Roth Aug 24, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Nearly 80 banks have failed so far this year. And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — that’s the FDIC to you and me — is having a hard time finding companies interested in buying those banks. Among possible buyers are private-equity groups. But until now, the FDIC has been reluctant to let them in. Alisa Roth explains why.


Alisa Roth: Private equity firms have a lot of money. And a lot of them would like to own some of these failed banks. Stephen Kaplan is a professor at the University of Chicago’s business school. He says some people are worried the private equity firms would take advantage of the situation.

Stephen Kaplan: They’ll somehow use the bank to help finance some of their companies in a way that isn’t economically rational or economically sound.

Or that they might try to make a quick buck by quickly flipping the banks to another buyer. David Brophy specializes in private equity at the University of Michigan’s business school. He says in some ways, private-equity firms would be less threatening to the FDIC than some other options, like foreign buyers.

David Brophy: I think when they think about the private-equity business it’s the devil you know.

That devil may not be as evil as he’s made out to be. He says private-equity firms may have a reputation for flipping assets quickly. But these days, they’re more likely to spend time fixing up companies before they sell them off.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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