FCL Fidelity Blog

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Citizens Bank: U.S. District Court rejects contra proferentem reading of Financial Institution Bond in finding No Coverage for Forged USDA Guarantees

On November 16, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin released its decision in Citizens Bank Holding Inc. v. Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co. The Court held that forged business loan guarantees purportedly issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not qualify for indemnity under Insuring Agreements D or E of a Financial Institution Bond. The decision is notable in that it reaffirms the interpretive principle that the Bond is not to be interpreted contra proferentem, as it is a product of negotiation between the banking and fidelity insurance industries. The Facts Citizens Bank maintained

Highland Bank: Eighth Circuit affirms Necessity of Bank’s Direct Reliance on Personal Guarantee under Financial Institution Bond’s Securities Coverage

On March 3, 2015, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in BancInsure, Inc. v. Highland Bank. The decision provides guidance with respect to (i) what constitutes a “direct loss” under the Securities Coverage of the Financial Institution Bond; and (ii) the nature of the reliance required for an insured to demonstrate that it has “extended credit … on the faith of” a forged guarantee. The Facts In 2005, First Premier Capital (FPC), an equipment lease finance company, entered into a Master Lease Agreement with Equipment Acquisition Resources (EA). Player and Malone, who were spouses, each owned 50

Bank of Brewton: Eleventh Circuit affirms Financial Institution Bond’s Distinction between Counterfeit Documents and Fraudulently-Procured, but Authentic, Documents

On February 9, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals released its decision in Bank of Brewton v. The Travelers Companies, Inc. The Court’s decision reinforces the distinction between counterfeit documents and documents which, although fraudulently-procured and without intrinsic value, are nonetheless authentic. The Facts The Bank of Brewton (the “Bank”) is a private bank located in Alabama. Its customer, Hines, obtained a series of loans for which he pledged various assets as collateral. In 2005, Hines assigned 180 shares of The Securance Group (“TSG”) as collateral for a loan, and delivered to the Bank a share certificate representing these