New Bank Failures: Week of April 20

New bank failures for the week of April 13 include Missouri's American Sterling Bank and Great Basin Bank of Nevada, the 24th and 25th banks shuttered by regulators this year.

All 50 bank failures since the beginning of 2008 are detailed on's interactive bank failure map:

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. arranged for Metcalf Bank of Lee's Summit, Mo. to acquire all of American Sterling's deposits and most of its assets. Nevada State Bank, a subsidiary of Zions Bancorp ( ZION) acquired all of Great Basin's deposits and most of its assets.

The Office of Thrift Supervision, which closed America Sterling on Friday, in January had approved a nonbinding agreement for life insurer Phoenix Cos. ( PHX) to acquire the bank as part of a bid to become a thrift holding company and thus qualify to apply for Troubled Asset Relief Program aid. However, the deal was never consummated.

American Sterling was considered significantly undercapitalized as of Dec. 31 under regulatory guidelines. Both it and Great Basin were included in's list of undercapitalized banks and thrifts. Ratings had assigned American Sterling Bank an E-minus (very weak) rating in March 2008 and had assigned Great Basin Bank of Nevada an E-minus rating in December, based on Sept. 30 financial information.

Nevada now ranks third among states with the most failures since the start of 2008, tied with Florida with four. Nevada State Bank also acquired Silver State Bank of Henderson, Nev., which failed in September.

Not surprisingly, states at the center of the residential housing boom have produced the greatest number of failing institutions. Out of 50 bank and thrift failures since the beginning of 2008, nine were in Georgia -- where larger southern banks like SunTrust ( STI), Regions Financial ( RF) and BB&T ( BBT) have acquired failed institutions' assets -- and eight were in California.

The FDIC's estimated total cost to its deposit insurance fund for the bank failures during the first quarter of 2009 was $2.3 billion. Many of the failed institutions were included in's list of undercapitalized banks and thrifts, which was recently updated. Ratings, recently cited for Best Stock Selection from October 2007 through February 2009 , is an independent research provider that combines fundamental and technical analysis to offer investors tremendous value in volatile times. It provides independent and very conservative financial strength ratings on each of the nation's 8,500 banks and savings and loans, which are available at no charge on the Banks & Thrifts Screener. To see how your portfolio can use this and other research, click here now!
Philip W. van Doorn joined 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.