The wave of US bank failures in 2008-09 is now often seen as an unavoidable by-product of the global financial crisis that began in the United States. Yet excusing these failures due to the severity of the credit crunch obscures the responsibility of many individual managers involved. While the crisis itself had many causes (from excessively low interest rates to federal regulatory policies encouraging homeownership), well-run banks can survive the most severe shifts in the credit cycle; most US banks came through 2008. Those that did not shared many characteristics with other major US banking collapses over the past 30 years. At their core, bank failures are usually attributable to serious internal management and moral failings -- which offer valuable lessons to business leaders well beyond the fields of banking and finance.