For a notoriously tightfisted banker, Robert Glickman proved to be quite the high-roller the past few years. The longtime chief executive of family-controlled Corus Bankshares (CORS), the sixth-largest Illinois-based bank, bet big on real estate in such spots as Florida, California, and, yes, Las Vegas. As Glickman backed condo and other construction, he amassed some $7.6 billion in commercial real estate loans and construction commitments, amounting to a huge chunk of Corus' $8.9 billion in assets. Giddy investors cheered him along, tripling Corus' stock price between 2003 and 2006.
Nowadays, however, Glickman is throwing snake eyes. Corus has become a poster-child for the real estate crunch. Its stock, worth nearly $33 a share adjusted for splits in early 2006, has skidded to $11. Earnings have plunged so sharply that Glickman, in his yearend report, called the period "clearly the worst quarter we have seen in many, many years." The bank's fourth-quarter profit: a scant $1.9 million, down 96% from $47.2 million a year earlier.