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Florida Banks: Strongest and Weakest

Florida has more bank failures than any other state this year and more are on the way.



) -- An analysis of Florida's banking scene underlines the state's move to the forefront for bank failures during 2010, as 55% of banks and savings and loan associations in the Sunshine State reported net losses for the second quarter.

According to data provided by

SNL Financial

, 21 of Florida's 261 banks and thrifts were


per ordinary regulatory guidelines, second only to Georgia, which had 39 institutions included on



Bank Watchlist


While the Watchlist is a very comprehensive way of identifying the weakest banks, another approach is to look at overall credit quality:

Florida Banks with Weakest Asset Quality

The following list includes all banks in the state with nonperforming assets comprising more than 15% of total assets as of June 30, with data provided by

SNL Financial


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Nonperforming assets (NPA) include repossessed real estate -- along with nonaccrual loans and accruing loans past-due 90 days or more -- and less government-guaranteed balances.

The list also includes financial strength ratings provided by

Weiss Ratings

. Weiss Ratings uses a conservative ratings model, placing the greatest weight on capital strength, credit quality and earnings stability to assign ratings ranging from A+ (Excellent) to E-minus (Very Weak).

While all of the listed banks lost money during the second quarter, several had fairly high total risk-based capital ratios.

The institution with the highest concentration in nonperforming assets in the state as of June 30 was

First National Bank of Florida

, with NPA of 30.01%. Most of the problem assets were commercial construction loans. The bank wasn't included on the


because its Tier 1 leverage ratio was 5.47% and its total risk-based capital ratio was 8.36% as of June 30, above the 4% and 8% required for most institutions to be considered

adequately capitalized


A cease and desist order from the

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

issued in March 2009 required First National Bank of Florida to maintain a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 12.5% by June 30, 2009, which means the bank was out of compliance for a year. A call to the bank was not returned in time for this article.

The bank with the second-highest nonperforming assets ratio -- 23.08% as of June 30 -- was

Vision Bank

of Panama City, which was also the largest bank on the list with $863 million in total assets. Vision Bank is a subsidiary of

Park National Corp.

(PRK) - Get Park National Corporation Report

of Newark, Ohio. Vision Bank was

well capitalized

as of June 30, with a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 13.18% and a total risk-based capital ratio of 17.84%, exceeding the 5% and 10% thresholds required for most banks to have this distinction. The holding company has been working through its nonperforming assets, which comprised 4.24% of total assets as of June 30. Park National has been profitable over the past year, serving as a source of strength for Vision Bank.

Florida's Largest Banks

Here's a list of the ten largest Florida banks, along with key metrics using the most recent available quarterly data:

Since second-quarter thrift financial reports were not available for two of the largest Florida institutions, we included first-quarter data for


of Miami Lakes and a partial set of second-quarter data for


of Fort Lauderdale. For BankAtlantic, some of the second-quarter data for the bank subsidiary was broken-out and reported separately in the holding company

BankAtlantic Bancorp's

(BBX) - Get BBX Capital Corporation Class A Report

second-quarter 10-Q filing with the Securities Exchange Commission.

Bearing in mind that we don't have BankUnited's total assets as of June 30, the largest bank in Florida by total assets at the end of the second quarter was

Northern Trust, NA

of Miami, which is a subsidiary of

Northern Trust Corp.

(NTRS) - Get Northern Trust Corporation Report

of Chicago. Both the Florida subsidiary and the holding company have been performing well - all things considered - over the past year. According to


, 12 out of 24 analysts covering the holding company have buy ratings on the shares, with neutral ratings for the rest. Keefe, Bruyette and Woods analyst Robert Lee has a "market perform," or neutral rating, on Northern Trust saying after second-quarter results were announced that "New business trends remained positive but revenue growth, we think, will remain challenging in the near-term."

BankUnited is next, with $11.5 billion in total assets as of June 30. This is the "new" BankUnited, which was formed by an investor group led by John Kanas to acquire the old BankUnited FSB from the

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

after the thrift failed in May 2009.

The new BankUnited, has been operating strongly ever since, and


reported last week that the thrift had selected a team of underwriters including

Bank of Amercia

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report


Deutsche Bank

(DB) - Get Deutsche Bank AG Report


Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report


Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Morgan Stanley Report

to lead a public offering.

Since BankUnited was so strongly capitalized as of March 31 - with a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 9.27% and a total risk-based capital ratio of 43.25%, a common offering indicates major expansion plans.

Strongest Florida Banks and Thrifts

Based on first-quarter financial reports, only four Florida institutions were rated B-plus (good) or above by Weiss Ratings:

All four Florida institutions with "recommended" ratings from Weiss were very strongly capitalized, profitable and had minimal loan losses during the second quarter.

Florida Bank Failures

There have been 20 bank failures in Florida so far this year, followed by Illinois with 14 and Georgia with 11 bank failures. Since the current wave of bank closures began in 2008, Georgia has had the most bank failures with 41. It is followed by Florida and Illinois, which have each had 36 institutions shuttered by regulators.

All previous bank and thrift failures since the beginning of 2008 are detailed in


interactive bank failure map:

The bank failure map is color-coded, with states having the greatest number of failures highlighted in red, and states with no failures in gray. By moving your mouse over a state you can see its combined 2008-2010 totals. Clicking on a state will open a detailed map pinpointing the locations of the failures and providing additional information about each one.

Among the several acquirers of multiple failed Florida Banks,

Toronto-Dominion Bank

(TD) - Get Toronto-Dominion Bank Report

stands out, taking over

Riverside National Bank of Florida

of Fort Pierce, AmericanFirst Bank of Clermont and First Federal Bank of North Florida, all of which failed on April 16, and allowed Dominion Bank to collect $3.9 billion in assets and 69 branches.

Other players making major expansions by acquiring multiple failed institutions in Florida have included the privately-held


of Jacksonville, which acquired the three failed subsidiaries of

Bank of Florida

on May 28, and

IberiaBank Corp

(IBKC) - Get IBERIABANK Corporation Report

of Lafayette, La., which has also acquired three failed banks in the state. The most recent was

Sterling Bank

of Lantana, which was shut down by state regulators on July 23.


Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter Fla.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., 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.