Is Hancock Whitney case a dangerous legal precedent for banks?

    It’s not often that a borrower blames the bank for causing him to default on a loan. 

    It’s even less common for a borrower to sue the bank in federal court—as a St. Mary Parish oilfield services company did in 2016—and win a hefty $2 million judgement.

    Throw in the fact the defendant in the case is the venerable Hancock Whitney Bank—which was operating in Louisiana as Whitney Bank at the time of the loan—and, as Business Report details, you’ve got the story of a lender liability lawsuit that’s raising eyebrows in legal circles and making the banking industry nervous.

    “The issues in this case are of importance to the entire banking industry in the state,” reads a brief filed by the Louisiana Bankers Association with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Hancock Whitney. “The present action threatens … the stability of the industry.”

    The case involves the now-idle SMI Companies Global, which was based in Centerville in St. Mary Parish and specialized in fabricating heavy steel products for the energy and petrochemical industries. Read the full story about the lender liability case. Send comments to editor@businessreport.com.

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