March 27, 2010 / 1:01 AM / in 9 years

Four banks fail; FDIC pulls back on loss shares

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four small banks across the United States were seized by regulators on Friday evening, ticking up the year bank failure tally to 41.

The continued parade of bank collapses comes as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is pulling back on loss-share agreements designed to lure bidders into taking on the assets of troubled banks.

Two of the banks that were seized were in Georgia, which has accounted for about one-sixth of all failures since the beginning of 2008.

Unity National Bank of Cartersville, Georgia, had about $292.2 million in assets, and McIntosh Commercial Bank of Carrollton, Georgia, had about $362.9 million in assets, the FDIC said.

Georgia is paying the price for overly aggressive lending during the housing boom, particularly speculative commercial real estate loans.

The other two institutions that failed on Friday were Key West Bank of Key West, Florida, which had $88 million in assets, and Desert Hills Bank of Phoenix, Arizona, which had $496.6 million in assets.

The FDIC found buyers for the deposits of all four banks, and entered into loss share agreements with all of them.

The FDIC said on Friday that it has reduced the amount of losses it is willing to share with buyers of failed banks, indicating the agency’s increased confidence in the market for these banks’ assets and in the overall economy.

The agency said it will no longer take on 95 percent of the share of potential losses for certain assets of failed banks. It will continue an 80/20 loss share in some transactions, the FDIC said.

“As a result of better pricing, more competitive bidding and an improving economy the FDIC feels that it can explore this step,” an agency spokesman said.

Through the end of 2009, the FDIC entered into 94 loss sharing agreements, with $122 billion in assets under loss share. The FDIC estimates it saved $29 billion through the loss shares, compared to an outright cash sale of those assets.

Reporting by Karey Wutkowski; editing by Carol Bishopric

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