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John L. Douglas
Mr. Douglas is a partner in Davis Polk’s Financial Institutions Group, heading the firm’s bank regulatory practice. As former General Counsel of the FDIC during the savings and loan crisis, he provides clients with the benefit of his first-hand experience in failed and troubled bank transactions. He has been involved in some of the most difficult and sensitive FDIC-assisted M&A transactions of recent years, including advising Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Indymac and Bank United.

Mr. Douglas was appointed General Counsel of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1987 and continued in that capacity through 1989. This was a period of unprecedented stress on the financial system, and he was involved in the major bank failures and restructurings of the late 1980s, participated in the landmark Financial Institutions Regulatory Reform and Restructuring Act of 1989 and assisted in the organization of the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Mr. Douglas is regarded as one of the leading bank insolvency lawyers in the nation.

Work Highlights

  • Led the recapitalization of Sterling Bank ($730 million in new capital infused by Warburg Pincus and TH Lee) and Synovus ($1.1 billion in new capital)
  • TH Lee in the $525 million recapitalization of First Banc Corp of Puerto Rico, and assisted in the acquisition of Alostar Bank of Commerce by four private equity funds
  • Green Dot Corporation in its groundbreaking acquisition of Bonneville Bank to further its position as the nation’s leading provider of general-purpose reloadable prepaid cards and extend its product offering with a range of bank deposit products
  • Wachovia Corporation in its acquisition of CoreStates Financial Corp, First Fidelity Bancorporation and Westcorp
  • Management, placement agents or investors in most of the so-called “shelf charters” and “platform banks” formed for the purpose of engaging in bank roll-up strategies during the current crisis, including SJB Escrow Corp ($1.1 billion committed); NAFH ($1 billion committed); Blue Ridge Holdings ($500 million committed); Community and Southern ($300 million committed); State Bank and Trust ($300 million committed); Community Bank Partners ($250 million committed); and Strategic Bank Partners ($350 million committed)
  • Bank of America in a strategic alliance and outsourcing venture to provide electronic bill payment and presentment, involving a $500 million equity investment
  • A consortium of 18 of the nation’s largest banks and a technology company to form the technology backbone for providing home banking services
  • Six major international banks and a card association in the formation of a major global payments processing company
  • CheckFree Corporation in obtaining direct access to the major funds transfer systems, allowing it to move over $2 billion each business day
  • One of the world’s largest asset management companies in the formation and subsequent acquisition of a series of national trust banks


Mr. Douglas has been listed in numerous guides to the world’s leading business lawyers, including:

  • Band 1, USA: Banking & FInance: Mainly Regulatory – Chambers Global 2013
  • Star Individual, Nationwide: Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance) – Chambers USA 2012
  • IFLR1000
  • Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America
  • Euromoney’s Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Banking Lawyers
  • Law Business Research’s Who’s Who Legal–International Who’s Who of Banking Lawyers
  • The Financial Times’ Who’s Who Legal International (Banking)
  • The “BTI Client Service All-Star Team,” a group of 113 lawyers recognized for exceptional service to Fortune 100 clients

Mr. Douglas was named “Lawyer of the Year” in Washington DC Financial Services Regulation Law by 2012 Best Lawyers.

Of Note

  • Director, Financial Services Volunteer Corp., a non-profit organization assisting countries as they work to develop strong banking and capital markets systems; in that capacity, he has advised the governments of Russia, Indonesia and Egypt, among others
  • Member, Financial Markets Tribunal, Dubai Financial Services Authority
  • Member, Executive Committee, University of North Carolina Law School’s Banking Law Institute
  • Member, Executive Committee, Rising Star Outreach, a non-profit organization assisting those affected by leprosy in India

Professional History

  • Partner, Davis Polk, 2009-2012; 2015-present
  • Counsel, 2012-2015


  • 901 15th Street, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20005
    P: 202-962-7126
    F: 202-962-7084
  • 450 Lexington Avenue
    New York, NY10017
    P: 212-450-4145
    F: 202-962-7115

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • State of Georgia
  • State of New York


  • B.A., Economics, Davidson College, 1972
    • cum laude
  • J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, 1977
    • magna cum laude
    • Order of the Coif
    • Notes Editor, Law Review


  • Spanish