Regulators on Friday shut down banks in Florida, Georgia and Michigan, a total of five closures that lifted the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 39.
The pace of closures has slowed, however, as the economy improves and banks work their way through piles of bad debt. By this time last year, regulators had closed 64 banks.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized First National Bank of Central Florida, based in Winter Park, Fla., with $352 million in assets, and Cortez Community Bank of Brooksville, Fla., with $70.9 million in assets.
The agency also took over First Choice Community Bank of Dallas, Ga., with $308.5 million in assets; Park Avenue Bank, based in Valdosta, Ga., with $953.3 million in assets; and Community Central Bank in Mount Clemens, Mich., with $476.3 million in assets.
Miami-based Premier American Bank agreed to assume the assets and deposits of First National Bank of Central Florida and Cortez Community Bank. Bank of the Ozarks, based in Little Rock, Ark., is acquiring the assets and deposits of First Choice Community Bank and Park Avenue Bank. Talmer Bank & Trust, based in Troy, Mich., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Community Central Bank.
In addition, the FDIC and Premier American Bank agreed to share losses on $270 million of First National Bank of Central Florida's loans and other assets, and on $51.3 million of Cortez Community Bank's assets.
The agency and Bank of the Ozarks are sharing losses on $260.7 million of First Choice Community Bank's assets and $514.1 million of Park Avenue Bank's assets. Talmer Bank & Trust is sharing with the FDIC $362.4 million of Community Central Bank's assets.
The failure of First National Bank of Central Florida is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $42.9 million. The failure of Cortez Community Bank is expected to cost $18.6 million; that of First Choice Community Bank $92.4 million; Park Avenue Bank, $306.1 million; and Community Central Bank, $183.2 million.
Florida and Georgia have been the hardest-hit states for bank failures. Twenty-nine banks were shuttered in Florida last year and 16 in Georgia. The four shutdowns in those states on Friday brought to four and 10 the number of bank failures in Florida and Georgia, respectively this year.
California and Illinois also have seen large numbers of bank failures.
In 2010, authorities seized 157 banks that succumbed to mounting soured loans and the hobbled economy. It was the most in a year since the savings-and-loan crisis two decades ago.
The FDIC has said that 2010 likely would mark the peak for bank failures.
There were 140 bank failures in 2009, costing the insurance fund about $36 billion. The failures last year cost around $21 billion, a lower price tag because the banks that failed in 2010 were smaller on average. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force; only three were closed in 2007.
From 2008, the year the financial crisis struck, through 2010, bank failures cost the fund $76.8 billion. The deposit insurance fund fell into the red in 2009, and its deficit stood at $7.4 billion as of Dec. 31.
The FDIC expects the cost of resolving failed banks to total around $52 billion from 2010 through 2014.
Depositors' money _ insured up to $250,000 per account _ is not at risk, with the FDIC backed by the government. That insurance cap was made permanent in the financial overhaul law enacted in July.
The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list rose to 884 in the final quarter of last year from 860 three months earlier. The 884 troubled banks is the highest number since 1993, during the savings-and-loan crisis.