Analysis of the Failure of Superior Bank, FSB, Hinsdale, Illinois
GAO-02-419T, Feb 7, 2002
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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has projected that the failure of Superior Bank could cost the deposit insurance fund as much as $526 million. A major reason for the failure was Superior Bank's business strategy of originating and securing subprime loans on a large scale. In addition to the concentration in risky assets, the bank did not properly value and account for the interests that it had retained in pooled home mortgages. Superior's external auditor, Ernst & Young, also failed to detect the improper valuation of Superior's retained interest until the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and FDIC insisted that the issue be reviewed by the auditor's national office. Federal regulators did not identify and act on the bank's problems early enough to prevent a loss to the deposit insurance fund. Both OTS and FDIC were aware of the substantial concentration of retained interests that Superior held, but they took little action because of the apparently high level of earnings, the apparently adequate capital, and the belief that the bank's management was conservatively managing the institution.