Friday, January 22, 2010

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

BOCC – one year later

My story looking back at the one-year anniversary of the Bank of Clark County failure, which can be found here and in this week’s print edition of the VBJ, provided me the opportunity to get the fullest picture yet of a beat I’ve covered for the last six months.

When I arrived at the paper last July, the BOCC failure still reverberated in conversations, policy meetings and in the majority of our reporting on the region’s construction industry – a sector particularly hard-hit by the bank’s collapse and subsequent credit squeeze.

Having reported in New York mostly from the sidelines of the financial crisis in the fall of 2008, I was a bit taken back by the closeness, as well as the intensity of the anger, frustration and resulting apathy in the wake of this relatively small regional bank’s closure.

Then I realized that, unlike the majority of people affected secondhand by the financial bust on Wall Street, those who I spoke with here were, in many cases, ex-BOCC depositors, loan-holders and employees.

This was no office water cooler event – one relayed as gossip from a place removed.

This particular bank collapse, the second of a total of 140 such failures last year, was personal.

Hence, I believe you will find our BOCC story a likewise personal take on an event that upended retirements, careers and, ultimately, lives.

Some of our readers might prefer a more sober assessment of the hows and whys of BOCC’s precipitous downfall and collapse – which as our story suggests, was not necessarily preordained.

In response, I have just two words for those still looking for the entire story of the backroom decision-making that led to the bank’s failure:

Keep reading.


Tiffany Couch said...

GREED. The ultimate demise of BOCC (and so many other financial institutions...and companies) can be boiled down to that single word. We see it in politics, big companies, and small. When the tone at the top permeates "more, more, more" then it's too easy to let sound business practices walk out the door and ethics, along with it. And look what happens. It brings down banks, governments, and companies. Taking with it, the innocent individuals they sought out to protect and serve in the first place.