Local and national resources to cover the banking sector

The following is an excerpt from an update to Beat Basics by Heather Landy, Mary Fricker and Theo Francis and updated by Yael Grauer on bank coverage. You can read the full ebook update here.

Here are some of the key local and national resources for the banking industry.


The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. (FDIC) is the federal agency that insures deposits and acts as receiver for most failed banks. Its website is a treasure trove of data and information, ranging from basic industry facts to in-depth analysis of banks and industry trends. On FDIC.gov, you can easily find links to the agency’s information and resources. Simply click on the “News” tab for media information; for banking data and statistics, click on the “Analysis” tab. You can also click on the “Resources” tab to access tools, forms, regulations, initiatives and other information.

The FDIC frequently maintains a list of banks that have gone bankrupt, on the FDIC’s list of failed banks. This list includes the names of banks that have gone bankrupt, along with their locations and acquirers. Click on a specific bank on the list for more information, including a link to the FDIC press release announcing that bank’s bankruptcy, details on the acquiring institution, and information that customers and applicants would be. interested in knowing.

The FDIC also maintains a list of “problem banks,” a watch list for banks considered to be at risk of bankruptcy. The content of this list is confidential; However, in the FDIC’s “Quarterly Banking Profile,” available on the FDIC’s Research and Analysis page, the agency will reveal how many banks are on the list, which can be helpful, as well as the pace of actual defaults for. a given quarter.

Additionally, the FDIC site offers individual state profiles, which you can find under the Analysis tab, under Summary of state bank performance. You will find quarterly trends (usually only a few months behind real time), including the number of banking institutions in your state, total bank assets, loan loss data, loan concentrations by category (residential real estate, agriculture, etc.), average capital ratios, employment data, etc. You will also find the largest deposit markets in your state. All of this can be useful as a backstory in a story, or can inspire a trending story on its own.

OCC / Federal Reserve

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency charters, regulates and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations, as well as the US divisions of foreign banks. Its oversight may overlap with that of the Federal Reserve. For example, the Fed is the primary regulator of Citigroup, the holding company of Citibank and all other companies under the Citi umbrella. But the OCC is the main regulator of the Citibank subsidiary, which is a nationally chartered bank. The OCC site can be useful, but in terms of coverage of the banking sector, it is not as robust as what the FDIC offers.

The Federal Reserve site also has information that will be useful to banking journalists (you can see total loans by loan category, etc.), but its biggest strength in terms of data is information on the macroeconomics.

Local regulators

It varies from state to state, but a quick Google search will take you to your local banking regulator’s website, which most likely has a feed you’ll want to follow or a distribution list you’ll want to be on. .

Business groups

Trade groups obviously have their biases, but they can be useful sources of information on all kinds of issues. Groups such as the American Bankers Association (not related to American Banker Newspaper or American Banker Magazine) are frequently consulted by lawmakers and regulators on policy matters, so they are often privy to topics reporters would like to ask questions, such as economic trends, regulations, political developments, etc.

• The American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes.

• The Independent Community Bankers of America represents smaller institutions.

The Institute for Banking Policy formed in 2018 when the Financial Services Roundtable and Clearing House Association merged. It represents the main banks in the country.

• The Institute of International Finance represents approximately 500 multinational companies, including some of the world’s largest investment and commercial banks, as well as insurance and investment management companies.

All of the above websites offer policy position papers, updates on issues affecting their members, and newsrooms and / or guides for experts.

Good sources through the beat

Banking is a pace that requires you to tap into local, national and international sources. Here are some good ones to get you started:

Good sources on chess

• Trepp Bank Navigator is a good resource on defaults, with quantitative reports on banks that have gone bankrupt because they fail. Contact the company to see if they will provide you with information and reports.

General sources: Wall Street

• KBW is a good source for banking research and commentary. It also holds the KBW Bank Index, one of the most cited stock indexes in the industry. (Citations for the index are available on various sites, including Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance.)

• Sell-side analysts can be difficult to find for interviews; they’re usually not very interested in talking to reporters at local newspapers, at least in my experience. But if there are banks in your area that you cover regularly, it is, of course, worth trying to get on the research mailing lists for analysts who follow these institutions. All the major research houses – Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS Group AG, etc. – follow the sector. Journalists may have better luck with smaller securities firms in their area.

Academic resources

• Check out expert guides from local universities for finance professors who might be able to comment on banking matters in your area. Law schools can also be good resources, especially on regulatory matters.

Several schools have entire research centers devoted to banking and financial matters. Among them:

• Boston University Banking and Financial Law Department is great on banking regulatory issues.

• East Tennessee State University has the ETSU center for banking.


American banker

For over 175 years, American Banker has been the industry bible. The site is rich in information. on all major industry issues: mergers and acquisitions, risk management, regulations, etc.

Unfortunately, you will find that some of the coins here are behind a paywall.

American Banker Magazine

AmericanBanker.com/Magazine is free for all readers! You won’t find a lot of news here (this website is where our monthly magazine stories are posted), but there are plenty of trend articles and analysis that might help you get a feel for it. idea of ​​the types of conversations taking place in the industry.

Banking Lawyers Blog

Banking attorney Kevin Funnell in Frisco, Texas maintains this site as a personal blog with his own opinions on a variety of issues affecting the banking industry.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Blog

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau blog.


Hedge fund operator Thomas Brown, a prominent Wall Street banking analyst in the 1990s, teamed up with Commerce Bancorp founder Vernon Hill (an industry legend) to create a news and comments presenting their own views and those of external contributors. Disclaimer: Both may have conflicts when writing about stocks they have positions on or possibly taking positions etc. But they do offer interesting commentary on a variety of operational and regulatory issues facing banks.

Insane panic by William Isaac

Former FDIC Chairman Bill Isaac wrote a book in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis that examines the crisis through the historical lens of someone who closed banks during the banking and S&L crises of the 1980s One part becomes political; these parts will not be as important to you, as a reporter for a metro daily, as his explanation of why it makes sense to treat bank creditors with caution in the event of default.

Locate the banking rhythm

Find the lawyers. Almost all of the major law firms in the city will have banking and financial experts who will work with institutions on recapitalizations, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory matters, etc.

Lawyers have a direct line with bankers in your community, and while they are very unlikely to break client confidentiality to help you, they know the important issues affecting institutions.

They may also be knowledgeable about new regulations and most likely have strong opinions about the outlook for troubled banks in your area.

Likewise, consultants and accountants can be useful sources. When I started on the banking beat, I asked a bank accountant to present me with an income statement and balance sheet so that I could familiarize myself with positions that I had not encountered on the previous rhythms. Chances are there is someone in your area who would be willing to do the same for you.

Talk to borrowers. Small businesses in your area know when it’s harder to get credit. Their experience may indicate that a particular bank in the city is in trouble or that the economy as a whole is weakening.

Maybe you are covering other large companies based in your area. With regard to your non-bank activity reports, ask the CFOs and treasurers of those companies with whom they do banking transactions; go to a Bloomberg terminal to find lenders and the terms of large loans made to these companies. Know which banks are essential in your market.

Know your regulators. Federal regulators – the Fed, FDIC, and OCC – have local offices in many areas. Get to know the people in these offices. State chartered banks (as opposed to nationally chartered banks) are also overseen by state banking regulators, and they can be valuable sources.

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