Philadelphia-area investment bankers win settlement from failed Texas bank

Posted: November 23, 2012

A group of Philadelphia-area investment bankers and lawyers won a settlement that could total more than $200 million from a defunct Texas bank that was the fourth-biggest failure during the financial crisis.

The settlement, approved Monday by a bankruptcy judge in Dallas, related to the failure of the Guaranty Bank of Austin means that on Dec. 5, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will receive $42 million and investors in the bank's unsecured debt will receive $38 million. The bank had $13.5 billion in assets.

The rest of the money, estimated at $150 million from federal tax refunds, is expected next year. If the tax refunds materialize, the FDIC will receive 30 percent of that money; the rest will go to investors.

Gladwyne investment banker Kenneth L. Tepper, 50, was the liquidating trustee in the bankruptcy of Guaranty's parent, Guaranty Financial Group Inc.

"My role as trustee for Guaranty was to maximize recovery for those who incurred loss, including the FDIC, and I think we've done that in an efficient and effective manner," said Tepper, who was paid $25,000 a month as trustee and who will receive 2 percent - $1.6 million - of the settlement.

The recovery for the FDIC is among the largest from a bank that failed during the recent financial crisis.

However, at the end of last year, the FDIC estimated its loss from Guaranty at $1.3 billion, the eighth-largest loss from banks that failed between 2008 and 2010.

Other local figures in the case include Hersh Kozlov, a partner at Duane Morris L.P. who led a team of lawyers representing holders of Guaranty Financial's trust-preferred securities, a form of bank debt.

Griffin Financial Group L.L.C., a Reading investment bank, served as financial adviser and performed analysis to show that Guaranty was already insolvent when Temple-Inland Inc., a producer of corrugated cardboard and building products, separated it in December 2007 into an independent company.

Guaranty immediately ran into financial trouble, eventually wiping out its equity with a $1.45 billion write-down of junk mortgage bonds. Tepper, chief executive of Kildare Financial Group in Radnor, sued Temple-Inland in August 2011, seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

Tepper's lawsuit came as International Paper Co. was pursuing a hostile bid for rival Temple-Inland. International Paper completed the $4.3 billion purchase in February, leaving the paper giant to contend with Tepper's lawsuit. The paper company agreed to the settlement last month.


Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

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