The back story of BankTracker

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 

“Wendell

Photo by Jeff Watts, AU

Wendell Cochran  

This month we’re celebrating the eighth anniversary of BankTracker, our long-running series of stories and updates on the financial health of the nation’s banks and credit unions. 

In 2009, Wendell Cochran, a founding editor of the Workshop, wanted to track the impact of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the $250 billion package that was signed into law in October 2008 by President Bush to stabilize the financial system.

Using data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), he created BankTracker, which allows readers to search by the name of their bank or by credit union to see assets, loans, deposits, reserves, profits and real-estate holdings, among other things, for every bank and credit union in the country.  

Our first data journalism project continues to have an avid readership. But eight years ago, the banking association warned us not to publish it. Read the back-story on how the analysis came together and how we developed our first partnership with a mainstream media outlet, msnbc.com.

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