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U.S. has first bank failures of year

WASHINGTON Associated Press - Regulators have closed small banks in Georgia, Florida and Pennsylvania, the first failures of 2012 following 92 closures last year.

The number of closures in 2011 marked a sharp decline from the two previous years, as banks worked their way through the bad debt accumulated in the recession. And by this time last year, regulators had shuttered seven banks.

FDIC action

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last week seized First State Bank, based in Stockbridge, Ga., with $536.9 million in assets and $527.5 million in deposits; Central Florida State Bank of Belleview, Fla., with $79.1 million in assets and $77.7 million in deposits; and American Eagle Savings Bank of Boothwyn, Pa., with $19.6 million in assets and $17.7 million in deposits.

Hamilton State Bank, based in Hoschton, Ga., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of First State Bank. In addition, the FDIC and Hamilton State Bank agreed to share losses on $419.5 million of First State Bank's loans and other assets.

CenterState Bank of Florida, based in Winter Haven, Fla., is assuming the assets and deposits of Central Florida State Bank. The FDIC and CenterState Bank of Florida are sharing losses on $53.6 million of Central Florida State Bank's assets.

Capital Bank, based in Rockville, Md., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of American Eagle Savings Bank.

The failure of First State Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $216.2 million; that of Central Florida State Bank is expected to cost $24.4 million, and American Eagle Savings Bank is to cost the fund $3.2 million.

Southern collapses

Georgia and Florida have been among the hardest-hit states. Regulators closed 13 banks in Florida last year and 29 in 2010. Twenty-three Georgia lenders were shuttered last year following 16 in 2010.

California and Illinois also have seen large numbers of bank failures.

In all of 2010, regulators seized 157 banks, the most in any year since the savings and loan crisis two decades ago. Those failures cost around $23 billion. The FDIC has said 2010 likely was the high-water mark for bank failures from the Great Recession.

A positive balance

In 2009, there were 140 bank failures that cost the insurance fund about $36 billion, a higher price tag than in 2010 because the banks involved were bigger 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 FDIC expects failures from 2011 through 2015 to cost $19 billion.

The deposit insurance fund fell into the red in 2009. With failures slowing, the FDIC's fund balance turned positive in the second quarter of this year; it stood at $7.8 billion as of Sept. 30.

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