Will Friday the 12th Be New Friday the 13th for Lehman?

Lehman Brothers, if it does go under, will likely fail on a Friday, maybe this Friday. Slate‘s

Why do banks always go bust on Fridays?So the government has a full weekend to reopen them under new management. If the banking business didn’t return to normal at the earliest opportunity, the specter of agitated customers might erode public confidence in the banking system, triggering a wider panic. So regulators close banks at the end of the day on Friday to take advantage of the regularly scheduled days off. In that time, officials from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.—the agency in charge of supervising the actual takeover—can settle a failed bank’s accounts and carve out assets to liquidate later, thereby easing the transition to a new owner. And if there is no new owner—i.e., if no healthy bank has stepped up to purchase the failed one—then the FDIC can use the weekend to write checks to customers for the total amount of their insured deposits.

For the record, Bear Stearns failed over an entire weekend, March 14-16, with the final deal sealed on Sunday but started the Friday before.