At the height of the financial crisis, the founders of the now troubled CertusBank managed to outmaneuver dozens of other groups and obtain a federal charter to buy failed banks. It turns out that Certus' backers received support in their successful bid from Reps. Barney Frank, Maxine Waters and nine other Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The politicians made their pitch for Certus via a July 30, 2010 letter obtained by American Banker under a Freedom of Information Act request. Addressed to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair, the letter sought "prompt review and action" in response to the Certus group's application. (The group applied for a charter as Blue Ridge Holdings and later changed its name to CertusHoldings.)

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