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Pace of U.S. bank failures slows

July 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- Federal regulators said the pace of U.S. bank failures was tailing off from the recent economic downturn's peak of 157 failures in 2010.

January through June saw 48 U.S. banks fail, fewer than the 74 banks that failed July through December of 2010 and less than the 86 that failed in the first half of 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

In the first week of the second half of 2011, a bank in Illinois and two in Colorado failed, bringing the 2011 total to 51.

In addition to fewer banks failing, the assets involved in bank failures has also declined. Nineteen banks holding more than $1 billion assets failed January through June in 2010. In the same period this year, only three banks with $1 billion or more in assets have failed.

Using 2007 as a starting point for the recent wave of bank failures, the number of closings expected for the current downturn is in "the seventh inning," said Timur Braziler, an industry analyst and assistant vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

About 19 percent of the banks on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. list of banks in trouble end up failing, historically, Greg Hernandez, a spokesman for the regulator said.

That would indicate the current wave of bank failures will not end soon. As of May, there were 888 banks on the FDIC's list of problem banks.

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