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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Corus Bank: "The Great Enabler of Condo Madness"

by Calculated Risk on 9/09/2009 09:12:00 PM

From Eric Dash at the NY Times: In Florida, Vestiges of the Boom

On the corner of Flamingo Road and Pink Flamingo Lane ... a soaring monument to the great condominium bust bakes under the Florida sun.

The Tao Sawgrass ... built on the western fringes of Fort Lauderdale with easy money from the now tottering condo king of American finance: Corus Bancshares of Chicago. Only about 50 of the 396 units have been sold.

... The primary regulator of Corus, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, failed to sound the alarm until Corus was deeply troubled. ... Corus will go down as the great enabler of condo madness, and its travails are a harbinger of the pain yet to come in the troubled world of commercial real estate.

...regulators are moving to cleave the bank in two and sell its banking operations and condominium loans separately. The hope is to clinch a deal by the end of the month.
This article touches on several key points - the speculative activities of Corus, the slow response of their primary regulator, the FDIC trying to split the bank in two to sell the banking operations (not worth much) separately from the "monuments to madness" condo towers (also not worth much), the coming losses from C&D and CRE loans for other banks, the coming hit from Corus to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) and more ...

Also, this article suggests Corus might have until the end of the month. However the bids for assets were due last Thursday, and I think it is likely that Corus will be seized this week.