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Illinois Banks See Earnings Drag

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- An analysis of second-quarter data shows that most of the largest banks in Illinois continue to see earnings weakness, but there are many smaller community banks posting strong numbers.

John Rodis, an analyst with FIG Partners, says that "the Chicago real estate market really hasn't turned" yet, although "credit losses are getting a little better."

Another interesting recent event for the Illinois banking scene is a weekend report from Crain's Chicago Business that American Chartered Bank of Schaumburg "landed a $50-million investment from four private-equity firms," including Patriot Financial Partners L.P. of Philadelphia and Endicott Management of New York.

American Chartered had $2.4 billion in total assets as of June 20. Chairman Robert Riter said the bank would use the new capital to repay most of a $37 million loan from Bank of America (BAC), while using the rest to fund loan growth and possibly branch acquisitions. The $37 million loan was originated by LaSalle Bank of Chicago, which Bank of America acquired in late 2007.

Brian Martin, a Chicago bank analyst with FIG Partners, says the American Chartered deal shows "there is certainly interest in the Chicago market from some pretty sophisticated investors."

The pace of bank failures in Illinois is slowing, with seven banks in Illinois being shuttered by regulators so far this year, compared to a total of 16 bank closures in the state during 2010.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced last week that it had moved up the planned closing of the agency's temporary satellite office in Schaumburg, IL, to Sept. 28, 2012, from the previous plan to shut down the office in the second quarter of 2013. While the FDIC didn't specifically mean that its plan to close the satellite office early meant that the agency expected fewer Illinois bank failures than it previously feared, Rodis says the accelerated wind-down "should mean good things."

Since the current wave of bank and thrift closures began in 2008, Illinois has seen 45 institutions closed by regulators, trailing only Georgia, which has had 70 failures and Florida, which has had 56 bank and thrift closures.

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