Tuesday, July 22, 2008

FDIC Faces Mortgage Mess After Running Failed Bank Subprime Lender Made Problem Loans On Regulators' Watch

By MARK MAREMONT
July 21, 2008; Page A1

Federal officials heap much of the blame for the subprime mortgage mess on lenders, claiming they recklessly made too many high-cost home loans to borrowers who couldn't afford them.

It turns out that the U.S. government itself was one of the lenders giving out high-interest, subprime mortgages, some of them predatory, according to government documents filed in federal court.

The unusual situation, which is still bedeviling bank regulators, stems from the 2001 seizure by federal officials of Superior Bank FSB, then a national subprime lender based in Hinsdale, Ill. Rather than immediately shuttering or selling Superior, as it normally does with failed banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. continued to run the bank's subprime-mortgage business for months as it looked for a buyer. With FDIC people supervising day-to-day operations, Superior funded more than 6,700 new subprime loans worth more than $550 million, according to federal mortgage data.

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