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Bank Fails in Seattle

Washington First International Bank fails, and its deposits are sold to East West Bank of Pasadena, Calif.

SEATTLE, Wash. (


) -- State Regulators closed

Washington First International Bank

of Seattle, Wash. on Friday, bring this year's tally of U.S. bank failures to 82.

The bank was included in


Bank Watch List

of undercapitalized banks and thrifts, based on first-quarter regulatory data provided by

SNL Financial


Weiss Ratings

, formerly

TheStreet Ratings

, had assigned Washington First International Bank an E-minus (Very Weak) financial strength rating in December, when the rating was downgraded from an E-plus. The December rating was based on third-quarter 2009 financial results, when a $13 million loss left the bank


, with a total risk-based capital ratio of 6.94%, below the 8% required for most institutions to be considered adequately capitalized. This ratio declined to 3.37% as of March 31.

After the Washington Department of Financial Institutions took over the bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver and sold the failed bank's total deposits of $441 million for a 0.5% premium to

East West Bank

of Pasadena, Calif., which is the main subsidiary of

East West Bancorp

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Washington First International Bank had about $521 million in total assets. East West Bank agreed to acquire $501 million of the failed bank's assets, with the FDIC retaining the rest for later disposition. The agency agreed to share in losses on $419 million of the acquired assets, and estimated the cost to the deposit insurance fund would be $158.4 million. Washington First International's four offices were set to reopen during normal business hours as East West branches.

East West Bancorp describes itself as "the largest bank in the nation focused on serving the Asian American community," and this was the holding company's second government-assisted acquisition of a failed bank over the past year, following the purchase of the much larger

United Commercial Bank

, which failed in November and had $11.2 billion in total assets. East West Bancorp acquired $10.2 billion in assets from the failed bank, with the FDIC sharing in losses on $7.7 billion. East West also picked up 63 U.S. branches from United Commercial, along with offices in China, and another subsidiary institution,

UCB-China of Shanghai


Ongoing Bank Failure Coverage

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 the states having the largest 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. Then click on the state to open a detailed map pinpointing the locations and providing additional information for each bank failure.

Free Financial Strength Ratings


Banks & Thrifts Screener

features independent and very conservative financial strength ratings provided each quarter by

Weiss Ratings

, for each of the nation's banks and savings and loans. The ratings are available at no charge.


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.