Regulators on Friday shut down a trio of banks in Indiana, Virginia and South Carolina, boosting to 61 the number of U.S. bank failures this year.
The pace of closures has slowed, however, as the economy has stabilized and banks work their way through the bad debt accumulated in the Great Recession. By this time last year, regulators had shuttered 108 banks.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized the three banks, the largest by far being Integra Bank, based in Evansville, Ind., with 52 branches, $2.2 billion in assets and $1.9 billion in deposits.
Integra Bank received $83.6 million in taxpayer funds in February 2009 under the government's financial bailout program, Treasury Department data show. The funds have not been repaid, according to the Treasury data.
The bank recently had been trying to raise fresh capital and sell non-essential assets as it struggled under the weight of souring loans for commercial real estate and land development.
Also shuttered were Virginia Business Bank, with one branch in Richmond, Va., $95.8 million in assets and $85 million in deposits, and BankMeridian, based in Columbia, S.C., with three branches, $239.8 million in assets and $215.5 million in deposits.
Old National Bank, also based in Evansville, agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Integra Bank. In addition, the FDIC and Old National Bank agreed to share losses on $1.2 billion of Integra Bank's loans and other assets.
Xenith Bank, based in Richmond, agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Virginia Business Bank. South Carolina Bank and Trust, based in Orangeburg, S.C., is acquiring the assets and deposits of BankMeridian.
Also, the FDIC and South Carolina Bank and Trust agreed to share losses on $179 million of BankMeridian's assets.
Integra Bank's failure is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $170.7 million. The failure of Virginia Business Bank is expected to cost $17.3 million. That of BankMeridian is expected to cost $65.4 million.
The pace of bank failures has slowed this year as lenders work their way through piles of bad debt. A slow but improving U.S. economy also has helped stem the number of bank casualties.
In all of 2010 regulators seized 157 banks, the most in a year since the savings-and-loan crisis two decades ago. The FDIC has said 2010 likely marked the peak for bank failures from the Great Recession.
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 involved 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, the FDIC's deficit narrowed in the first quarter of this year; it stood at about $1 billion as of March 31.
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.