On July 30, 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Timothy Owens, CEO and Chairman of Voyager Bank and CEO of the bank's holding company, Voyager Financial Services Corporation (VFSC), pleaded guilty for obstructing an examination by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (Fed). The guilty plea is the result of an investigation by the Fed, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Owens' conduct and representations during the Fed's 2009 investigation of VFSC. Owens was indicted in December 2014.
The Fed examined VFSC with a focus on the bank holding company's internal controls relating to loans to insiders and attendant credit risks. According to the DOJ complaint, examiners were aware that VFSC issued three loans to Owens. The Fed, in a letter that Owens received personally, demanded that VFSC review its loans to Owens and ensure that such loans were consistent with bank policies. However, Owens did not share the letter with the board and prepared a response to the Fed.
The prosecutor alleged that Owens' response to the Fed did not disclose a fourth $1 million loan and misrepresented that the response had been reviewed and approved by the VFSC board. The prosecutor alleged that Owens misrepresented his financial circumstances, as well as those of the bank, to end the Fed's examination.
Owens' plea highlights the liability that officers and directors of financial institutions can face as a product of regulatory examinations of their institutions.
Owen's is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.
For more information, please contact Venable's CFPB Task Force.