Bad Bank

Definition of 'Bad Bank'


A bank set up to buy the bad loans of a bank with significant nonperforming assets at market price. By transferring the bad assets of an institution to the bad bank, the banks clear their balance sheet of toxic assets but would be forced to take write downs. Shareholders and bondholders stand to lose money from this solution (but not depositors). Banks that become insolvent as a result of the process can be recapitalized, nationalized or liquidated.

Investopedia explains 'Bad Bank'


A well-known example of a bad bank was Grant Street National Bank, which was created in 1988 to house the bad assets of Mellon Bank. The financial crisis of 2008 revived interest in the bad bank solution, as managers at some of the world's largest institutions contemplated segregating their nonperforming assets into bad banks.

Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke proposed the idea of using a government-run bad bank in the recession following the subprime mortgage meltdown in order to clean up private banks with high levels of problematic assets and allow them to start lending again. An alternate strategy considered was a guaranteed insurance plan that would keep the toxic assets on the banks' books but eliminate the banks' risk and pass the risk on to taxpayers.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities - TIPS

    A treasury security that is indexed to inflation in order to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. TIPS are considered an extremely low-risk investment since they are backed by the U.S. government and since their par value rises with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, while their interest rate remains fixed.
  2. Gilt-Edged Switching

    The selling and repurchasing of certain high-grade stocks or bonds to capture profits. Gilt-edged switching involves gilt-edged security, which can be high-grade stock or bond issued by a financially stable company such as the Blue Chip companies or by certain governments.
  3. Master Limited Partnership - MLP

    A type of limited partnership that is publicly traded. There are two types of partners in this type of partnership: The limited partner is the person or group that provides the capital to the MLP and receives periodic income distributions from the MLP's cash flow, whereas the general partner is the party responsible for managing the MLP's affairs and receives compensation that is linked to the performance of the venture.
  4. Class Action

    An action where an individual represents a group in a court claim. The judgment from the suit is for all the members of the group (class).
  5. Retail Sales

    An aggregated measure of the sales of retail goods over a stated time period, typically based on a data sampling that is extrapolated to model an entire country. In the U.S., the retail sales report is a monthly economic indicator compiled and released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce.
  6. Okun's Law

    The relationship between an economy's unemployment rate and its gross national product (GNP). Twentieth-century economist Arthur Okun developed this idea, which states that when unemployment falls by 1%, GNP rises by 3%. However, the law only holds true for the U.S.
Trading Center