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BANKING

Insolvency: BBVA sees opportunity in US banks’ distress

Spanish bank is the first foreign buyer from the FDIC; Rising failures are testing the FDIC’s resources

Francisco González, BBVA

"Any truly international company must have a presence in the US. For us it is a priority market"

Francisco González, BBVA

As the summer drew to a close, the pace of US small-bank failures was intensifying, with almost every Friday night bringing the announcement that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had seized another institution, which would be opening under new ownership on the Monday morning. It remains to be seen whether the FDIC can keep finding acquirers to take over the rising number of teetering banks – it had 416 on its problem list by the end of August – and how much longer its own financial resources can last before it has to borrow from the US Treasury.

It was initially reluctant to sell troubled banks to private equity investors, perhaps fearing their inherent leverage and the unsuitability of non-bank owners. It was due to release new guidance on private equity buyers as Euromoney went to press. Before then, it had turned for the first time to a foreign acquirer.

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