January 17, 2009 / 4:07 AM / 11 years ago

Two U.S. banks fail, first casualties in 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bank regulators closed two small banks on Friday, the first U.S. banks to fail this year but the latest in an upsurge that began last year as the struggling economy and falling home prices took their toll on financial institutions.

A woman counts $100 bills in this undated file photo. REUTERS/Files

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said National Bank of Commerce of Berkeley, Illinois and Bank of Clark County of Vancouver, Washington were closing with other banks taking over their insured deposits.

In 2008, 25 banks were seized by officials, up from just 3 in 2007.

National Bank had $430.9 million in assets and $402.1 million in deposits, with Republic Bank of Chicago assuming its insured deposits, the FDIC said. Republic Bank will also purchase $366.6 million in assets at a discount of $44.9 million, it added.

Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Umpqua Holdings Corp, agreed to assume insured deposits of the Bank of Clark County, which had $446.5 million in assets and $366.5 million in deposits, the FDIC said.

The FDIC insures up to $250,000 per account through 2009 and individual retirement accounts at insured banks.

But Bank of Clark County had about $39.3 million in uninsured deposits in 138 accounts that may exceed the insured limit, the FDIC said. It added that “is likely to change once the FDIC obtains additional information from these customers.”

Bank of Clark County will reopen on Tuesday as branches of Umpqua Bank. The FDIC said customers at National Bank should continue to use existing branches until Republic Bank can fully integrate National’s deposit records.

Customers at both National Bank and Bank of Clark County can access their money over the weekend by check, teller machine or debit card, the FDIC said.

National Bank’s failure will cost the FDIC Deposit Insurance Fund $97.1 million while Bank of Clark County’s failure will cost between $120 and $145 million, it said.

During the current financial crisis, Seattle-based lender Washington Mutual became the biggest bank to fail in the U.S. history. It was closed in September while suffering from losses from soured mortgages and liquidity problems.

The FDIC agency also has a running tally of problem banks that its examiners closely monitor. At the end of the third quarter, 171 undisclosed institutions were on that list.

More details on Friday's bank failures are posted on the FDIC's website here and here

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Gary Hill and Ben Tan

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