AnchorBank's Holding Company Tries New Bankruptcy Strategy

On behalf of Macdonald Fernandez LLP on Friday, September 6, 2013.

A bank holding company typically files bankruptcy after the FDIC takes over its bank subsidiary, when the only task left is to marshal assets and liquidate. Anchor BanCorp, holder of AnchorBank, is trying something new.

Specifically, Anchor BanCorp filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on August 12, 2013, before a takeover of AnchorBank, which may be avoided in light of the bankruptcy. Anchor BanCorp proposes a genuine restructuring in which it would pay off more than $180 million in debt owed to other banks for just $49 million; it could convert the U.S. Treasury's preferred stock into an equity stake worth about $6 million (the bank received $100 million in TARP funds); and it would recapitalize by canceling its existing shares and sell the remaining new equity to investors. The bankruptcy court approved the plan last week, but regulators still need to sign off.
If successful, Anchor BanCorp could provide a model for other struggling regional banks to get ahead of the FDIC and take control of their own restructuring.