Executives involved in one of the largest bank failures in the nation's history went on trial this month.
Terry L. Church, 47, and Michael H. Graham, 50, former officers of the First National Bank of Keystone (W.Va.), are each charged with three felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of a federal investigation. The defendants face up to 15 years in prison and $750,000 fines if convicted.
The trial, which began April 6, is expected to go to the jury within two weeks.
"This case is about the defendants' cover-up of the bank's true financial nature," Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Arnold was quoted by The Charleston Gazette as saying in her opening argument. "The moment the examiners stepped foot into the bank, these defendants took every effort possible to misdirect, delay, and put every obstacle possible in their way."
Ms. Church's ranch hands have testified to routinely destroying bank records and to burying roughly 18 tons of documents at the ranch. Her lawyer has argued that Ms. Church's instructions to dispose of official documents were legitimate because of a lack of nearby waste-disposal facilities. "It happened in broad daylight . There was no attempt to hide what was going on. They drove the trucks through downtown Keystone," the Associated Press quoted Ms. Church's lawyer, Charles M. Love as saying.
Keystone's Sept. 1 failure is expected to cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. up to $850 million.
David W. Roderer, a lawyer at Goodwin, Procter, & Hoar, has been hired as deputy counsel by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. He is scheduled to start today. Mr. Roderer spent the past 14 years in private practice after working for Fannie Mae and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. He said that he was attracted by the mission of OFHEO, which is trying to strengthen its oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He will be joined by Dorothy J. Acosta, whom the agency simultaneously promoted to deputy counsel from associate general counsel. Both will report to the agency's new general counsel, Alfred M. Pollard.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is promoting community reinvestment and development manager Anna Alvarez Boyd to acting deputy comptroller for community affairs. She is to take the reins after Jeanne K. Engel departs May 5 to become vice president for policy at the National Association of Home Builders.
Alexandra Maroulis-Cronmiller has left the Independent Community Bankers of America after 14 years to become membership director at America's Community Bankers. Ms. Maroulis-Cronmiller directed the ICBA's political action committee. "Her grass-roots skills and fund-raising ability are legendary," said ACB president Diane M. Casey, another ICBA veteran.
"Difficult" was how Federal Reserve Board Governor Edward Gramlich described predatory lending Friday."Predatory lending is a difficult issue," Mr. Gramlich said in a speech to the Fair Housing Council of New York in Syracuse. "It causes obvious difficulties for borrowers, it is difficult for enforcers to track down, and it is difficult to regulate. So far as we can tell, predatory lenders generally operate outside the main financial regulation network.
"These lenders are sometimes fraudulent, but probably more often they take advantage of loan terms that are useful for many borrowers but can become destructive if misunderstood."