| WASHINGTON, March 19
WASHINGTON, March 19 Regulators seized seven
more U.S. banks on Friday, as high unemployment and troubled
loan portfolios continue to weigh on the sector.
The seven failures, which are estimated to cost the
government's deposit insurance fund more than $1 billion, bring
the 2010 tally to 37 failed institutions. Last year, 140 banks
failed. At this week's frantic pace, 365 banks would be shut
down by the end of the year.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said Advanta Bank Corp
of Draper, Utah; Appalachian Community Bank of Ellijay,
Georgia; Bank of Hiawassee, Hiawasee, Georgia; First Lowndes
Bank of Fort Deposit, Alabama; Century Security Bank of Duluth,
Georgia; American National Bank of Parma, Ohio; and State Bank
of Aurora in Aurora, Minnesota were closed.
Advanta, at $1.6 billion in total assets and $1.5 billion
in total deposits, was the largest of the seven, though the
FDIC was unable to find a buyer.
The regulator said checks for insured funds would be mailed
to account holders on Monday. The FDIC said the banks had about
$247,000 in uninsured deposits, though it cautioned that figure
was likely to change.
Appalachian had about $1.01 billion in total assets.
Community & Southern Bank of Carrollton, Georgia agreed to
assume all of Appalachian's $917.6 million in deposits.
Bank of Hiawassee had about $377.8 million in total assets.
Citizens South Bank of Gastonia, North Carolina agreed to
assume all of $339.6 million in deposits.
First Lowndes had abut $137.2 million in assets. First
Citizens Bank of Luverne, Alabama agreed to assume all $131.1
million in deposits.
Century Security had $96.5 million in total assets. Bank of
Upson of Thomaston, Georgia agreed to assume all $94.0 million
American National had $70.3 million in total assets. The
National Bank and Trust Company of Wilmington, Ohio agreed to
assume $66.8 million in total assets.
State Bank of Aurora had about $28.2 million in total
assets. Northern State Bank of Ashland, Wisconsin agreed to
assume all $27.8 million in deposits.
The seven banks together would cost the FDIC's Deposit
Insurance Fund about $1.28 billion.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair this week said banks are making
progress in working through their troubled assets.
"We think this is going to peak this year, and it's going
to get considerably better next year," Bair told an American
Bankers Association conference on Thursday.
In the fourth quarter, the banking industry reported a
profit of $914 million, compared with a $37.8 billion net loss
a year earlier.
However, the recovery has been lopsided, with the largest
banks enjoying a quicker return to profits.
Smaller institutions are particularly struggling with large
concentrations in commercial real estate, a sector that has
been slower to unravel.
Bankers told Bair at the ABA conference this week that
small banks are at a competitive disadvantage. They said larger
banks are still considered "too big to fail" and therefore
enjoy lower funding costs and an influx of deposits.
The FDIC estimates that the total cleanup cost for the bank
industry will be $100 billion from 2009 through 2013.
Bair said this week that she does not expect the FDIC will
have to tap its line of credit with the Treasury Department or
charge a surprise fee on the industry to pay for bank
(Addditional reporting by Karey Wutkowski; Editing by