FDIC Completes Structured Sale of Toxic Assets

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced Thursday it had concluded the sale of $1.45 billion in toxic assets through two private-public partnerships. The distressed loans — performing and non-performing residential and commercial construction loans out of failed First National Bank of Nevada (which was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in July of 2008 and which cost the Deposit Insurance Fund an estimated $862 million) — were placed into a limited liability corporation (LLC) and marketed to potential bidders by financial adviser Keefe Bruyette Woods, according to a press statement by the FDIC. The successful bidders on the LLC were Diversified Business Strategies and Stearns Bank NA, which picked up an initial 20 percent stake in the LLC, with the FDIC retaining an 80 percent interest in the assets. The FDIC reported that, “once certain performance thresholds are met,” its interest will drop to 60 percent, with future expenses and income shared on the percentage ownership with the purchaser and the FDIC. “By retaining a participation interest in the structure, the FDIC as receiver will benefit in the future return of the portfolio in addition to receiving immediate proceeds from the purchaser for its 20 percent interest in the portfolio,” officials said in the press statement. The closure of the sale announced Thursday brings the total amount of assets sold through private-public partnerships to about $3.2 billion during the past year through five separate transactions. The FDIC also said it plans to use a similar strategy moving forward, based on the success of the program so far. “The FDIC is drawing on its previous successes and those of the Resolution Trust Corporation,” said James Wigand, deputy director at the Division of Resolutions and Receiverships. “During the last banking crisis, when asset values were similarly difficult to ascertain, these types of structures ultimately resulted in superior recoveries relative to the then-depressed market valuations.” The FDIC’s large residual will ensure substantial returns going forward, similar to the trend in the late ’80s and early ’90s when the government kept large stakes in closed banks (via the FDIC) and failed thrifts (through the RTC). Sources HousingWire has spoken with so far share the sentiment that the same strategy that helped to recover some market value some 20 years ago just might mean a glimmer of hope going forward. “[The distressed asset deal] is a big deal,” said one source, an analyst that asked not to be named in this story. “This is the kind of thing that can form a bottom on which markets start to solidify again.” Write to Diana Golobay at diana.golobay@housingwire.com.

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