Are many banks seeing their capital dissipate with alarming speed?
*The Wall Street Journal, by Joe Bel Bruno, August 17, 2009
“Banks in the U.S. that failed in the past two years were in far worse shape than those that collapsed during the industry’s last crisis, a looming problem for the government agency charged with insuring deposits.
At three of the five banks that failed Friday, increasing the total to 77 so far this year, the financial hit to the agency’s deposit-insurance fund is expected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to be about 50% of their assets.
The biggest hit on a percentage basis is coming from Community Bank of Nevada, a Las Vegas bank with $1.52 billion in assets and an estimated cost of $781.5 million. The failure of Colonial Bank, a unit of Colonial BancGroup Inc. that was sold to BB&T Corp., will cost $2.8 billion, or 11% of the Montgomery, Ala., bank’s assets.
For the 102 banks that have collapsed in the past two years, the FDIC’s estimated cost averaged 25% of assets. That is up from the 19% rate between 1989 and 1995, when 747 financial institutions were closed by regulators, according to the FDIC.
The agency’s insurance fund already has dipped to $13 billion, with more than 300 battered banks and thrifts still on an undisclosed FDIC list of problem institutions.
One problem is that so many banks took risks when the economy was booming, and are seeing their capital dissipate with alarming speed.”
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