Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bank enforcement actions decline

The number of banks and thrifts hit with "severe enforcement actions" from regulators has fallen drastically in the last two years, according to a new analysis from SNL Financial.

Twenty-four lenders received enforcement actions - including prompt corrective action directives, cease and desist orders and formal agreements with regulators - in February, down from 29 the month before, the Charlottesville, Va.-based financial information firm reported.

That's well below the levels seen through the worst of the recession: Newly issued severe enforcement actions peaked in the first half of 2010, with 221 in the first quarter and 220 in the second. Yet despite the decrease, more than 1,000 banks and thrifts - nearly 14 percent of the industry - are still operating under such actions issued after 2007, SNL found.

Among the severe enforcement actions counted in February: the formal agreements between Charlotte's Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and other lenders with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency related to the $25 billion mortgage settlement between big banks and government officials.