SACRAMENTO (TheStreet) -- California has had 13 bank or thrift failures during 2008 and 2009, tied with Illinois for second among all states after Georgia.

Based on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s press releases, California bank and thrift failures have been the most expensive for the agency, with costs to its deposit-insurance fund totaling $15 billion, followed by $5.4 billion for Florida and $3.9 billion for Georgia.

Strongest California Banks and Thrifts

While recent strength in the stock market highlights investors' assumption that an economic recovery is beginning,

banking-industry exposure

to problem assets continued its rapid increase during the first quarter.

Of course, there are still many strong banks, and savings and loans out there. Based on March 31 financial reports, 18 of California's 311 banks and thrifts were rated B-plus (good) or higher, down from 28 the previous quarter.

Institutions are listed by rating and city.

The ratings encompass a large number of data, placing the greatest weight on capital strength, credit quality and earnings stability.

One notable upgrade on the list is

Farmers & Merchants Bank of Central California

, which was assigned an A (very good) financial-strength rating, up from A-minus the previous quarter. Farmers & Merchants is held by

Farmers & Merchants Bancorp

(FMBC)

.

Largest California Institutions

The following table includes capital, earnings and asset-quality indicators for the 10 largest California banks and thrifts.

Bank of America California NA

of San Francisco, held by

Bank of America Corp.

(BAC) - Get Report

, maintained its C-plus rating, which was a downgrade from B-minus in March, based on fourth-quarter figures. In large part, the rating reflects the institution's holding-company affiliation. Its larger sibling,

Bank of America NA

of Charlotte, N.C., is rated C-minus.

Silicon Valley Bank

of Santa Clara, a subsidiary of

SVB Financial Corp.

TheStreet Recommends

(SIVB) - Get Report

, ranked the highest among California's largest banks and thrifts, with an A-minus rating.

Weakest California Banks

All eight of the California banks that have failed during 2009 were undercapitalized according to ordinary

regulatory guidelines

.

See

Undercapitalized Banks and Thrifts

for a list of those that reported being undercapitalized as of March 31. The list includes six remaining undercapitalized California institutions.

One thing to keep in mind is that the list doesn't reflect any additional capital that might have been raised during the second quarter of 2009.

Significant California Bank Failures

IndyMac was by far the largest California failure during 2008 and 2009. Other significant collapses included

Downey Savings

of Newport Beach and PFF Bank & Trust of Pomona, both of which failed Nov. 21.

US Bancorp

(USB) - Get Report

acquired all deposits and branches.

Another big California failure was Vineyard Bank of Rancho Cucamonga, which was closed July 18, with deposits acquired by

Zions Bancorporation

(ZION) - Get Report

.

TheStreet.com's interactive

Bank Failure Map

contains a summary of all failed banks and thrifts for 2008 and 2009.

Free Bank and S&L Ratings

TheStreet.com Ratings issues independent and very conservative financial-strength ratings on the nation's 8,300 banks and savings and loans. These are available at no charge on the

Bank & Thrift Ratings Screener

.

Philip W. van Doorn joined TheStreet.com 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.