In law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, receivership is the situation in which an institution or enterprise is being held by a receiver, a person "placed in the custodial responsibility for the property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 of others, including tangible and intangible asset
In financial accounting, assets are economic resources. Anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value and that is held to have positive economic value is considered an asset...

s and rights." The receivership remedy is an equitable remedy that emerged in the English Chancery courts, where receivers were appointed to protect real property. Receiverships are also a remedy of last resort in litigation involving the conduct of executive agencies that fail to comply with constitutional or statutory obligations to populations that rely on those agencies for their basic human rights.
Various types of receiver appointments exist:
  1. a receiver appointed by a (government) regulator pursuant to a statute;
  2. a privately appointed receiver; and
  3. a court-appointed receiver.

The receiver's powers "flow from the document(s) underlying his appointment – a statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

, financing agreement, or court order
Court order
A court order is an official proclamation by a judge that defines the legal relationships between the parties to a hearing, a trial, an appeal or other court proceedings. Such ruling requires or authorizes the carrying out of certain steps by one or more parties to a case...

  • Secure the assets of the company and/or entity.
  • Realize the assets of the company and/or entity.
  • Manage the affairs of the company in order to discharge the debt owing.

The receiver may run the company in order to maximize the value of the company’s assets, sell the company as a whole, or sell part of the company and close unprofitable divisions.
Several regulatory entities have been granted power by the Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 to place banking and financial institutions into receivership like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is a US federal agency established by the National Currency Act of 1863 and serves to charter, regulate, and supervise all national banks and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States...

 for failing nationally chartered commercial bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s; the Office of Thrift Supervision
Office of Thrift Supervision
The Office of Thrift Supervision was a United States federal agency under the Department of the Treasury that charters, supervises, and regulates all federally- and state-chartered savings banks and savings and loans associations. It was created in 1989 as a renamed version of another federal agency...

 for failing savings and loan association
Savings and loan association
A savings and loan association , also known as a thrift, is a financial institution that specializes in accepting savings deposits and making mortgage and other loans...

s (thrift institutions); and the Federal Housing Finance Agency
Federal Housing Finance Agency
The Federal Housing Finance Agency is an independent federal agency created as the successor regulatory agency resulting from the statutory merger of the Federal Housing Finance Board , the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight , and the U.S...

 (FHFA) for government-sponsored enterprises
Government-owned corporation
A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, or parastatal is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government...

 (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.