The Real Deal Miami

Behind the BankUnited bust

July 13, 2009 09:05AM

The blow-up in May of Coral Gables-based BankUnited is tied as much to the leadership of founder Alfred Caner as the mortgages it made that went bad and drove it to bankruptcy. Formerly the largest Florida-based financial institution, it had 19 percent of the loans on its books default. Caner, forced out by his board in October 2008, kept tight control of the bank through protected share classes, and was instrumental in shifting its strategy from that of a plain vanilla thrift to a more aggressive lender.