10 Who Had a Bad Year in Banking
In his second full year as CEO, Moynihan seemed to suffer through a nightmarish 2011. An effort to implement a $5 monthly debit card fee drew the ire of politicians and consumer groups, forcing Moynihan to first backpeddle and then scrap plans for the fee. He also unveiled a corporate restructuring designed to cut thousands of jobs and included the departure of several key lieutenants. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Anyone who invested in the KBW Bank Stock Index at the beginning of 2011 would have suffered a 26% loss through mid-December. That compares to a 22% gain in 2010. Granted, the slide wasn't as bad as the nearly 50% plummet but the decline is enough to make investors big and small wary. And it could encourage activist shareholders to put more heat under struggling banks.
As its Canadian peers struck big deals this year to expand in the United States, Royal Bank of Canada essentially gave up on its more than decade-long experiment here. The company in June said it would sell RBC Bank to PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in a deal set to close next year. Royal Bank of Canada meanwhile recorded a huge loss related to the sale. (Image: Bloomberg News)
For most of 2011, Trager was adamant that his Kentucky bank would prevail in litigation with the FDIC over its refund-anticipation loans business. Earlier this month, the company ended up settling its issues with the FDIC though at a steep price. Republic agreed to quit making the loans after next tax season, exiting a business that brought in nearly $25 million this year. There is a silver lining: Republic has enough capital to make acquisitions and possibly reinvent itself next year.
Levan touted his pending sale of BankAtlantic to BB&T Corp. as an "elegant solution" to years of troubles at the Florida thrift. Elegance is open to debate given the low valuation of the thrift and the more than $580 million in losses it racked up from late 2007 to early 2011. And the sale to BB&T faces one major hurdle as Hildene Capital Management Inc. filed a lawsuit to block the deal from going through.
Even before Apple lost its visionary leader Steve Jobs, it was slipping behind rivals in the payments world. Despite creating the successful App Store mobile retail module, the company failed to deliver an iPhone with an embedded payments chip. This puts it behind rival Google Inc., which in May unveiled a mobile wallet built into its flagship smartphone. With Jobs' death, Apple loses his famous 'reality distortion field,' which was credited for allowing the company to weather its failings without weakening the fanatic devotion of its fans. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Homeowners in the United States have lost more than $500 billion in home equity since the downturn in 2006 and more than 6 million have gone into foreclosure since 2007. Some analysts suggest that we're only half-way through the housing crisis due to a backlog of shadow inventory, including 2.2 million borrowers who are in the process of foreclosure and another 1.8 million that have defaulted on their mortgage and are 90 days or more past due. All told, the housing bubble could claim as many as 10 million homeowners by the time housing prices stabilize. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Hale faced a clear lose-lose proposition this year. A Nasdaq delisting has created concern that the Baltimore company may be unable to secure a much needed investment from Priam Capital Fund, putting 1st Mariner in a precarious position next year. If 1st Mariner does succeed in getting the money, a requirement of the recapitalization is that the long-time CEO must leave the company.
To be sure, a number of female executives have climbed the management ranks this year. Still, others like Sallie Krawcheck highlight the double-edged sword that exists in the industry. Krawcheck, just a few years removed from a hasty departure at Citigroup, was let go at Bank of America Corp. this fall as part of a major corporate restructuring. Barbara Desoer, another high-level female executive at B of A, also seemed to lose significant influence, after her responsibility for home loans was given to another female executive. (Image: Bloomberg News)
Decoupled debit cards in particular, Tempo Payments Inc. became "a casualty of the Durbin amendment," the company's CEO, Mike Grossman, said in July as he was winding down his business. Decoupled debit cards allow consumers to attach a third party's debit card to a bank account of their choosing. Tempo's business model, which was based on undercutting traditional debit-card fees, became unsustainable when the Fed capped debit interchange rates this year, Grossman said at the time. Other decoupled-debit providers, which use different business models, fared better.
It was a tough year both for bankers and their backers. Here are 10 who had a particularly difficult time as strategic moves backfired, legal woes mounted and unforgiving markets dealt out costly setbacks.
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