FDIC Shuts 5 Banks in Fla., Nev., Calif.

Bank closings, FDIC, federal deposit insurance corporation, banking, AP

Regulators on Friday shut down three banks in Florida and one each in Nevada and California, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 78.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the Florida banks, all owned by holding company Bank of Florida Corp. They are Bank of Florida-Southeast, based in Fort Lauderdale, with $595.3 million in assets; Bank of Florida-Southwest, based in Naples, with $640.9 million in assets; and Bank of Florida-Tampa Bay, based in Tampa, with $245.2 million in assets.

The FDIC also seized Las Vegas-based Sun West Bank, with $360.7 million in assets, and Granite Community Bank, located in Granite Bay, Calif., with $102.9 million in assets.

EverBank, based in Jacksonville, Fla., agreed to acquire the assets and deposits of the failed Florida banks. Los Angeles-based City National Bank is assuming all the assets and deposits of Sun West Bank, and Tri Counties Bank, based in Chico, Calif., is assuming those of Granite Community Bank.

In addition, the FDIC and EverBank agreed to share losses on the three Florida banks' loans and other assets. Losses will be shared on $437.3 million of Bank of Florida-Southeast's assets, $568.1 million of Bank of Florida-Southwest's assets and $210.8 million of Bank of Florida-Tampa Bay's assets. The federal agency and City National Bank agreed to share losses on $280 million of Sun West Bank's assets. The FDIC is sharing with Tri Counties Bank losses on $89.3 million of Granite Community Bank's assets.

The failures of the three Florida banks are expected to cost the deposit insurance fund a total of about $203 million. The failures of Sun West Bank are expected to cost around $96.7 million, while losses at Granite Community Bank are expected to cost $17.3 million.

The three Florida closures brought to 13 the number of bank failures this year in Florida, a state with one of the highest concentrations of bank collapses and where the meltdown in the real estate market brought an avalanche of soured mortgage loans. Fourteen banks in the state failed last year.

California is another state with a heavy concentration of bank failures, and Granite Community Bank was the sixth bank to fall in the state this year, following the shutdown of several big California banks in the last months of 2009. Seventeen banks failed in California last year.

Georgia and Illinois also are high on the list of states with concentrated bank failures.

With 78 closures nationwide so far this year, the pace of bank failures is more than double that of 2009, which was already a brisk year for shutdowns. By this time last year, regulators had closed 36 banks. The pace has accelerated as banks' losses mount on loans made for commercial property and development.

The number of bank failures is expected to peak this year and to be slightly higher than the 140 that fell in 2009. That was the highest annual tally since 1992, at the height of the savings and loan crisis. The 2009 failures cost the insurance fund more than $30 billion. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force, and only three succumbed in 2007.

As losses have mounted on loans made for commercial property and development, the growing bank failures have sapped billions of dollars out of the deposit insurance fund. It fell into the red last year, and its deficit stood at $20.7 billion as of March 31.

The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list jumped to 775 in the first quarter from 702 three months earlier, even as the industry as a whole had its best quarter in two years.

A majority of institutions posted profit gains in the January-March quarter. But many small and mid-sized banks are likely to continue to suffer distress in the coming months and years, especially from soured loans for office buildings and development projects.

The FDIC expects the cost of resolving failed banks to grow to about $100 billion over the next four years.

The agency mandated last year that banks prepay about $45 billion in premiums, for 2010 through 2012, to replenish the insurance fund.

Depositors' money - insured up to $250,000 per account - is not at risk, with the FDIC backed by the government.
By AP Business Writer Marcy Gordon
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