As General Growth goes into Chapter 11, banks sweat

General Growth Properties (GGP), the big mall operator, will file for Chapter 11. According toThe Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, "Many analysts suspect General Growth will survive a lengthy bankruptcy intact, but perhaps smaller after selling properties, without resorting to liquidation."

That may be so, but some big commercial banks could face large write-downs from their exposure to General Growth if a bankruptcy judge voids or cuts down the value of any of the company's debt obligations. General Growth says that it has about $24 billion in debt.