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Are Banks Failing Less Often?

Back in 2008, I put together fifty fun facts about bank failures [3] in which I looked at a bunch of FDIC and bank failure facts. I thought it was fun because I love trivia, I don’t think banks failing left and right is all that much fun!

Since the 2008 publishing, we’ve had a few years of turmoil in the banking industry, to say the least. Gone were the years like 2006, where not a single bank failed, and we all watched as banks failed left and right. In 2009, there were 140 failures. 2010 heralded 157 failures, which makes for a dreadful monthly average. April and July 2010 were particularly bad, twenty three and twenty two banks, respectively, failed that month.

It also seems as though bank failure news has exited mainstream media. You can probably attribute much of it to fatigue – it’s ceased to be interesting news. Everything that’s can be written about failing banks has been written. FDIC insurance – check. Don’t freak out please – check. Everything will be fine come Monday – check.

The big question is – are banks failing less often now? After triple digit bank failure years, how are we on pace this year?
It’s not looking good.

As of this past Friday, 123 banks have failed [4] through the first twenty weeks of the year (they release data on Mondays, so I counted weeks by the number of Mondays in 2011). We’re on pace for around 319-320 bank failures this year.

The number of failures isn’t everything though. Fortunately, despite the frequency, the size of these failures is much smaller. Most of the banks had less than or around $300 million assets with just a few in excess of a few billion (two – United Western Bank in Colorado and Superior Bank in Alabama). It’s the smaller guys going under, which doesn’t make for interesting news on a national scale, but they’re still going.

That said, don’t be concerned that your bank is going to fail. The FDIC has your back. 🙂

(Photo: phobia [5])