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Florida's Weak Banks Get Even Weaker

Stocks in this article: STI FITB NTRS

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ( TheStreet) -- Of 293 Florida banks and thrifts rated by Ratings based on complete second-quarter regulatory filings, only seven were assigned "recommended" ratings.

Florida, usually at the forefront of real-estate peaks and valleys, has had eight bank or thrift failures this year and last, far behind Georgia, which has had 24, and Illinois, with 17, and California, with 14. But Florida has far fewer banks than Georgia or Illinois, and had the second-highest number of institutions with nonperforming assets comprising more than 10% of total assets as of June 30. The seven recommended Florida banks were rated B-plus ("good") or higher.

The most recent Florida bank failures were Community National Bank of Sarasota County and First State Bank of Sarasota on Aug. 7, with deposits and branches acquired by Stearns Bank NA of St. Cloud, Minn.

The largest Florida bank or thrift failure during the current cycle has been BankUnited of Coral Gables, which failed on May 21, with a group of investors led by John Kanas purchasing the bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. with a generous loss-sharing guarantee from the agency.

Large holding companies expanding their footprints in Florida by acquiring deposits of failed banks have included SunTrust (STI) and FifthThird (FITB).

Strongest Florida Banks and Thrifts

The number of Florida institutions rated B-plus or above is down from 11 in the first quarter.

Florida Banks and S&Ls Rated B+ or Higher (Millions of Dollars)
Source: Regulator filings via SNL Financial. Ratings takes a conservative approach with bank ratings, placing the greatest weight on capital strength, credit quality and earnings stability.

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