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New Bank Failures: Week of May 4

New bank failures for the week of May 4 include Georgia's Silverton Bank, New Jersey's Citizens Community Bank and Utah's America West Bank, bringing the total number of institutions shuttered by regulators this year to 32.

All 57 bank failures since the beginning of 2008 are detailed on's interactive bank failure map:

Atlanta-based Silverton Bank, which provided bank and correspondent services to 1,400 banks and thrifts across the country, had $4.1 billion in total assets and $3.3 billion in deposits. The bank also facilitated loan participations between banks and made large land acquisition and development loans on its own. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was appointed receiver, formed a bridge bank to allow Silverton customers to arrange new correspondent banking relationships.

Citizens Community Bank of Ridgewood, N.J., with $45 million in total assets and $43.7 million in deposits, was the first northeastern bank to fail since the beginning of 2008. The FDIC was appointed receiver and sold all of the failed bank's deposits to North Jersey Community Bank of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

America West Bank of Layton, Utah had total assets of about $299 million and deposits of $284 million. The FDIC arranged for Cache Valley Bank of Logan, Utah to take on all of the failed institution's deposits and $10.9 million in assets, with a 30-day option to purchase America West's loans.

Silverton is the fifth largest bank or thrift to fail since the start of 2008. The largest, Washington Mutual, did not cost the FDIC anything, as JPMorgan Chase (JPM) acquired its assets and deposits after it failed in September. Silverton is the fourth costliest to the FDIC, trailing IndyMac Financial, Downey Savings & Loan and Franklin Bank.

The FDIC's estimated total cost to its deposit insurance fund for the bank failures during the first quarter of 2009 was $2.3 billion

Silverton Bank also was the sixth Georgia bank to fail during 2009, following last week's failure of American Southern Bank of Kennesaw. Georgia leads all states with 11 bank or thrift failures during 2008 and 2009, followed by California with nine failures and then Florida, Illinois and Nevada, each of which has had four bank or thrift failures.

Large southern banks like SunTrust (STI), Regions Financial (RF), BB&T (BBT) and Synovus Financial (SNV) have acquired some of the failed Georgia institutions' assets.

Many of the failed institutions, including Silverton and America West, were included in's list of undercapitalized banks and thrifts, which was recently updated.

With preliminary first-quarter data available from SNL Financial for 90% of the nation's roughly 8,300 banks and thrifts, there were 78 undercapitalized institutions as of March 31. Of the 60 banks and thrifts that were undercapitalized as of Dec. 31 according to ordinary regulatory capital guidelines, 22 have failed. Ratings, recently cited for Best Stock Selection from October 2007 through February 2009 , is an independent research provider that combines fundamental and technical analysis to offer investors tremendous value in volatile times. It provides independent and very conservative financial strength ratings on each of the nation's 8,500 banks and savings and loans, which are available at no charge on the Banks & Thrifts Screener. To see how your portfolio can use this and other research, click here now!

Philip W. van Doorn joined Ratings., Inc., in February 2007. He is the senior analyst responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. He also comments on industry and regulatory trends. Mr. van Doorn has fifteen years experience, having served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Florida, and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Long Island University.

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