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Florida's Troubled Banks

This column originally posted on RealMoney.com on Feb. 10. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney , please click here.

It may be some time before things brighten again for the Sunshine State's banks.

Florida, where a once-hot real estate market made the state among the hardest-hit in the credit crisis, has seen three banks fail since the start of 2008. Many other financial institutions in the state have exhibited ragged loan quality and depleted capital.

Since there's more than one way to identify troubled banks, we are presenting three lists of Florida banks suffering from the state's boom-and-bust cycle.

Preliminary call report data is now available for roughly 98% of U.S. banks (but not for savings and loan institutions). Based on the early data, the number of banks considered less than well capitalized per regulatory guidelines rose to 172 as of Dec. 31 from 143 in September.

One bank that would have appeared on all three lists would have been Ocala National Bank, which failed on Jan. 30, with deposits assumed by CenterState Banks of Florida (CSFL - Get Report).

Since Dec. 31 data for banks is not yet finalized, please be advised:

The lists are based on preliminary data: Most banks have filed their call reports, which our data provider, Highline Financial, obtains from the FDIC. The data was not yet finalized when we downloaded it on Feb. 9, and there were at least 100 banks that had not filed yet. This data is often updated or corrected by banks before it is finalized.

The list only includes banks: Data for the over 800 savings and loan institutions supervised by the Office of Thrift Supervision is not available.

The data is for the banks themselves, not holding companies.

A bank on the list may have raised capital since Dec. 31: Most community banks with capital concerns are trying very hard to raise capital any way they can. Some on the list may have raised significant capital privately since filing their Dec. 31 call reports.

Nonperforming Assets to Total Assets

The first list includes the 20 Florida banks with the highest ratio of nonperforming assets to total assets as of Dec. 31:

Florida Banks with Weakest Asset Quality
12/31/2008 ($Mil)
Highline Financial, Inc

Leading the list is Florida Community Bank of Immokalee, with a nonperforming assets ratio of 22.81% as of Dec. 31. Despite its very high level of (mainly) nonperforming construction and development loans in Collier County on the Gulf Coast, the institution's year-end reserve coverage of 7.94% of total loans was more than double its loan charge-off rate for 2008. Even after posting a net loss of $41 million for 2008, Florida Community was well capitalized, with tier-1 leverage and risk-based capital ratios of 8.29% and 12.03%. It will be very interesting to see how this one plays out.
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