WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- Regulators closed banks in four states Friday, bringing the total of number of failed U.S. banks this year to 20.

Marco Community Bank

Florida regulators shut down Marco Community Bank of Marco Island, Fla., the main subsidiary of Marco Community Bancorp ( MCBN), and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. receiver.

The FDIC sold the failed bank's $117 million in deposits for a 1.5% premium to Mutual of Omaha Bank, of Omaha, Neb., which also agreed to take on the failed institution's roughly $120 million in total assets, with the FDIC agreeing to share in losses on $104.8 million of the acquired assets.

Marco Community Bank had been assigned an E- (Very Weak) financial strength rating by TheStreet.com Ratings back in September. Loan losses depleted the bank's capital, and it was considered undercapitalized since the end of the third quarter. TheStreet.com recently included it in its listing of undercapitalized banks in four key states.

The failed bank's office was set to reopen Saturday as a branch of Mutual of Omaha Bank. The FDIC estimated the cost to its insurance fund would be $38.1 million.

La Coste National Bank

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed La Coste National Bank of La Coste, Texas. The FDIC was appointed receiver and sold the failed bank's $49 million in deposits for a 0.51% premium to Community National Bank of Hondo, Texas. Community National also acquired La Coste National Bank's $54 million in total assets.

This was an unusual bank failure, since La Coste National Bank's Dec. 31 regulatory financial report revealed no signs of problems, and TheStreet.com Ratings had assigned the bank a C+ (Fair) financial strength rating. The bank was well capitalized as of Dec. 31, had very strong credit quality and reported profits for every quarter during 2009. The OCC said the bank was critically undercapitalized after experiencing "substantial dissipation of assets and earnings due to unsafe and unsound practices." There were no enforcement orders listed for the bank in the OCC's public database, and the regulator did return a phone call seeking comment Friday night.

The FDIC did not enter into a loss-sharing agreement with Community National Bank to cover any of the failed bank's assets, although the agency expected the cost to its insurance fund would be $3.7 million.

La Coste's office was scheduled to reopen Monday as Community National Bank branch.

TheStreet.com next week will publish an update on the reason for the failure.

George Washington Savings Bank

Illinois regulators shuttered George Washington Savings Bank of Orland Park, Ill. and appointed the FDIC receiver. The FDIC sold the failed bank's $397 million in deposits for a small premium to FirstMerit Bank, NA of Akron, Ohio, the main subsidiary of FirstMerit Corporation ( FMER). FirstMerit also took on the failed bank's $413 million in total assets, with the FDIC agreeing to share in losses on $324.2 million.

George Washington Savings Bank had been assigned an E-minus financial strength rating by TheStreet.com Ratings in December and was also included in the recent list of undercapitalized banks in four states.

The failed bank's four branches were scheduled to reopen Saturday as FirstMerit branches. The FDIC estimated the cost to its insurance fund would be $141.4 million.

La Jolla Bank, FSB

The Office of Thrift Supervision closed La Jolla Bank, FSB of La Jolla, Calif. The FDIC was appointed receiver and arranged for OneWest Bank, FSB of Pasadena, Calif. to take over the failed thrift's $2.8 billion in deposits for no premium, along with $3.6 billion in total assets, with the FDIC agreeing to share in losses on $3.31 billion.

TheStreet.com Ratings had assigned La Jolla Bank an E-plus (Very Weak) financial strength rating in December. A huge provision for loan losses of $257 million during the fourth-quarter nearly wiped out the thrift's core capital, although La Jolla Bank was not included in TheStreet.com's recent list of undercapitalized banks in four states, because its Dec. 31 financial report wasn't yet publicly available.

La Jolla Bank and its holding company entered into cease-and-desist orders with the OTS in September, agreeing to submit plans to raise capital. On Tuesday, the OTS directed the thrift to raise capital by selling itself or merging with another institution. When the regulator closed the institution three days later, it said La Jolla Bank was "was in an unsafe and unsound condition to transact business and was critically undercapitalized with no reasonable prospect of becoming adequately capitalized."

This was the third large acquisition of a failed institution by OneWest, which was formed in March to acquire the former IndyMac Bank from the FDIC.

Ongoing Bank Failure Coverage

All previous bank and thrift failures since the beginning of 2008 are detailed in TheStreet.com's interactive bank failure map:
chart

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 hovering your mouse over a state you can see the totals for that state. You can then click on the state to open a detailed map that pinpoints the locations of the failures and provides additional information.

Georgia leads all states with 32 bank or thrift failures from 2008 through Friday, followed by Illinois and California with 24 failures each, and Florida with 19 failures.

Large holding companies acquiring failed institutions during the current crisis have included J.P. Morgan Chase ( JPM), which acquired Washington Mutual, the largest-ever bank or thrift to fail in the U.S; U.S. Bancorp ( USB); SunTrust Banks ( STI); Regions Financial ( RF); Fifth Third Bancorp ( FITB); Zions Bancorp; PNC Financial ( PNC); and BB&T ( BBT).

The FDIC has extended through 2013 its increase to $250,000 from $100,000 for its basic limit on individual deposit insurance coverage. Although the agency also temporarily waived all deposit insurance limits for business transaction accounts (checking accounts), the insurance limit on these accounts are scheduled to go back to $100,000 on June 30.

After that happens, it will be more important than ever for business and municipal entities such as school districts to carefully monitor the health of their banks. It's very easy to have more than $100,000 of somebody else's money flowing through a business account.

TheStreet.com Ratings issues independent and very conservative financial strength ratings on each of the nation's 8,500 banks and savings and loans. They 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.

TheStreet.com Ratings also provides award-winning stock ratings, which are available on the Stock Ratings Screener.

TheStreet.com Ratings was recently ranked the No. 1 independent stock selector during the market meltdown by BNY ConvergEx Group's BNY Jaywalk.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter Fla.

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.

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