FDIC Blames Signature Bank Failure on ‘Poor Management’

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation released an internal review evaluating its supervision of Signature Bank between 2017 and the bank’s failure in March. According to the review, “the root cause of [Signature Bank’s] failure was poor management,” with the FDIC noting that the bank “pursued rapid, unrestrained growth” while failing to maintain “adequate risk management practices.” In addition, the FDIC said Signature Bank had subpar corporate governance, regularly ignored FDIC recommendations and relied too heavily on uninsured deposits.

The FDIC also included details on its supervisory actions in the report, including targeted reviews, ongoing monitoring, the issuance of supervisory letters and roll-up reports of examination. However, the agency admitted it “could have escalated supervisory actions sooner.”

“Maintaining safety and soundness requires effective challenge from the regulators and receptivity and responsiveness from the banks,” the report said. “In the case of [Signature Bank], the bank could have been more measured in its growth, implemented appropriate risk management practices, and been more responsive to the FDIC’s supervisory concerns, and the FDIC could have been more forward–looking and forceful in its supervision.”

Signature Bank was closed by the New York Department of Financial Services on March 12 and the FDIC was appointed as receiver. The FDIC established and operated Signature Bridge Bank until March 19, when it entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Flagstar Bank, a subsidiary of New York Community Bancorp, to assume the deposits and a certain assets of the bridge bank.

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