Regulators on Friday shut down small banks in Georgia and Florida, lifting to 47 the number of U.S. bank failures this year in the wake of economic distress and mounting soured loans.
The pace of closures has slowed, however, as the economy improves and banks work their way through the bad debt. By this time last year, regulators had closed 83 banks.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized McIntosh State Bank, based in Jackson, Ga., with $339.9 million in assets and $324.4 million in deposits. The agency also shuttered First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay, in Tampa, Fla., with $98.6 million in assets and $92.6 million in deposits.
Hamilton State Bank, based in Hoschton, Ga., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of McIntosh State Bank. In addition, the FDIC and Hamilton State Bank agreed to share losses on $242.1 million of McIntosh State Bank's loans and other assets.
Stonegate Bank, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is assuming the assets and deposits of First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay.
The failure of McIntosh State Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $80 million. That of First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay is expected to cost $28.5 million.
Georgia and Florida have been among the hardest-hit states for bank failures.
Sixteen banks were shuttered in Georgia last year. The shutdown of McIntosh State Bank brought to 13 the number of bank failures in the state this year. Regulators closed 29 banks in Florida last year. First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay is the sixth Florida lender shut down this year.
California and Illinois also have seen large numbers of bank failures.
In 2010 regulators seized 157 banks, 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 through 2010, bank failures cost the fund $76.8 billion. The deposit insurance fund fell into the red in 2009. With failures slowing, its deficit narrowed in the first quarter of this year and stood at about $1 billion as of March 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 last July.
The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list edged up to 888 in the January-March quarter from 884 as of Dec. 31. The 888 troubled banks is the highest number since 1993, during the savings-and-loan crisis. But that doesn't mean the pace of bank failures is likely to accelerate again because, historically, only 19 percent of the banks on the "problem" list actually fail.