Federal regulators have dispatched teams of investigators and outside attorneys to review the court record provided by various NBW directors who have sued each other.

In a recent filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, attorneys for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. asked for another 90 days to continue investigating possible claims arising from the civil litigation among directors and bank management. Lawyers already have reviewed more than 60 boxes of documents produced in the litigation and interviewed numerous bank employees and directors, according to the filing.

In addition, the FDIC also has uncovered other issues not addressed in the suit that bear further investigation, the filing said.

"The FDIC seems to be devoting a lot of resources to what went on at NBW," said Robert B. Ott, the attorney representing the bankruptcy interests of NBW's holding company, Washington Bancorporation. "The fact that it's in the nation's capital and they have this record as a way of expediting it means they're moving quickly."

"It's a big bank," said one FDIC source. "We're spending a lot of time on it. The record in that {lawsuit} alone is extensive."

The FDIC is the agency that has the primary authority to pursue claims against directors and managers of the bank.

Yet some who have been associated with the bank have faulted the regulators for not moving long before the bank was taken over.

There has been an extensive record of depositions and other materials in the case since it was filed in 1988. In addition, individual directors and officers of the bank went to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FDIC with allegations of wrongdoing on the board when the lawsuit was filed.

"Where were the regulators then?" asked one former director who asked not to be identified. "Now they're all running in over the corpse."

"The regulators did a lot of bad things" in the way they handled the federal takeover of the bank, former NBW chairman Luther H. Hodges Jr. said. He said he is pressing for a congressional investigation of the demise of NBW.

"I think the system would benefit from it," Hodges said.