Feds close banks in Mesa, Fla., Calif., Minn. - East Valley Tribune: Business

Feds close banks in Mesa, Fla., Calif., Minn.

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Posted: Friday, May 7, 2010 5:37 pm | Updated: 3:50 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.— Regulators on Friday shut down banks in Florida, Minnesota, Arizona and California, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures to 68 this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over The Bank of Bonifay, based in Bonifay, Fla., which had $242.9 million in assets and $230.2 million in deposits; and Access Bank, in Champlin, Minn., with $32 million in assets and $32 million in deposits.

The agency also seized Towne Bank of Arizona in Mesa with $120.2 million in assets and $113.2 million in deposits; and 1st Pacific Bank of California in San Diego, with $335.8 million in assets and $291.2 million in deposits.

First Federal Bank of Florida in Lake City, Fla. agreed to acquire Bonifay's deposits and about $78.1 million of its assets. The FDIC will keep the remainder for eventual sale.

PrinsBank of Prinsburg, Minn. will assume Access' deposits and assets.

Commerce Bank of Arizona, based in Tucson, agreed to assume all of the deposits and assets of Towne Bank, and City National Bank of Los Angeles will assume all of 1st Pacific Bank's deposits and assets.

The failure of The Bank of Bonifay is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $78.7 million; that of Access Bank, $5.5 million; that of Towne Bank, $41.8 million; and that of 1st Pacific Bank, $87.7 million.

With the 68 closures so far this year, the pace of bank failures this year is double that of 2009. By May 1 last year, U.S. regulators had shut down 32 banks.

There were 140 bank failures in the U.S. last year, the highest annual tally since 1992, at the height of the savings and loan crisis. They cost the insurance fund more than $30 billion. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008 and only three succumbed in 2007.

The number of bank failures likely will peak this year and will be slightly higher than in 2009, FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said recently.

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, hitting a $20.9 billion deficit as of Dec. 31.

The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list jumped to 702 in the fourth quarter from 552 three months earlier, even as the industry squeezed out a small profit. Still, nearly one in every three banks reported a net loss for the latest quarter.

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. Apart from the fund, the FDIC has about $66 billion in cash and securities available in reserve to cover losses at failed banks.

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