New bank failures for the week of March 9 include Freedom Bank of Georgia, bringing to 17 the number of U.S. banks and savings and loans closed during 2009. All 42 bank failures since the beginning of 2008 are detailed on TheStreet.com's new interactive bank failure map:
Northeast Georgia Bank of Lavonia, Ga. assumed all of the failed institution's deposits and most of its assets. Not surprisingly, states at the center of the residential housing boom have produced the greatest number of failing institutions. Out of 42 bank and thrift failures since the beginning of 2008, eight were in California, seven in Georgia and four in Florida. Freedom Bank was included in TheStreet.com's analysis of undercapitalized banks and thrifts. Forty banks and eight thrifts were undercapitalized, by regulatory standards, based on preliminary data from Highline Financial. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s bank insurance fund totaled $18.9 billion at the end of 2008, declining of $15.7 billion in the fourth quarter, as the agency handled twelve bank failures. The FDIC also announced amendments to the restoration plan for its deposit insurance fund, including an extra 20-basis point assessment on deposits, in addition to deposit insurance premiums already being collected. The assessments will be charged on Sept. 30. TheStreet.com Ratings issues independent and very conservative financial strength ratings on each of the nation's 8,500 banks and savings and loans. These are available at no charge on the Banks & Thrifts Screener. In addition, the Financial Strength Ratings for 4,000 life, health, annuity, and property/casualty insurers are available on the Insurers & HMOs Screener.