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Banking MVP: Nossaman's Patrick Richard

11/15/2013 Law360

Nossaman Partner Patrick Richard was profiled as a "Banking MVP" by Law360.  Recognized for his role in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s $169 million victory against former executives of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. for issuing shaky commercial loans, Mr. Richard was one of only five attorneys to earn a spot on Law360's list of Banking MVPs.

Frequently finding himself defending professionals or opposing the government in financial services cases during his 22 years at Nossaman, Mr. Richard described the unique challenge of stepping into the FDIC's shoes, saying, "There's a sense of responsibility [and] it's a great opportunity to dig deeper than other clients might permit." 

Describing the challenges of presenting the case to the jury, Mr. Richard stated, "It was a four-and-a-half week crash course in the economics of banking for the jury.  When they heard from defendants themselves, it became apparent: These were large loans that were too risky, they violated the bank's loan policy and they [the defendants] violated the bank's rules for a reason."

"One of the things I told the jury was: 'This is America. If you want to take your life savings and build a business in your garage, go for it. You just can't do it with depositors' money,'" Mr. Richard said.

Commenting on the verdict that awarded $169 million in damages to the FDIC, Mr. Richard noted, "It should serve as a reminder to banks and the professionals that advise banks that even technical compliance with the regulations isn't a substitute for good and appropriate judgment.  I'm hoping the lasting impact might be a reminder that there are these basic standards of negligence and safe and sound lending that should guide us at a certain point in our careers."

The article noted that Mr. Richard encountered similar disputes over banking practices at the start of his career during the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis.  "Things truly are cyclical," said Mr. Richard.  "In one way or another, I've been involved in banking litigation for most of my career."

"I learned pretty quickly that there's tensions within banks between the prudent course, the safe course and the quick buck," he continued.  "And people can lose their way. Banks aren't supposed to be like other businesses; they're supposed to be safe and sound."

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