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Nine Banks Have Failed in 2009 So Far

This article was written by in Banking. 6 comments.

Three more banks failed on Friday, bringing the 2009 tally to nine. When banks fail, the deposits (bank accounts) are transferred to another bank, sometimes with the FDIC facilitating the transition. Regardless of the process, bank accounts are generally insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor, so you won’t lose your money if you have an account at a bank that fails. In fact, most of the time, the transition is completely seamless. Old debit and ATM cards continue to work, you can still write checks.

The $250,000 limit is an increase over the previous limit of $100,000. The current law is scheduled to expire at the end of 2009, with limits returning to $100,000 next year. The law may be extended or even superseded by a new law that would increase the limit further.

Here are the latest banks to fail.

FirstBank Financial Services, McDonough, Georgia. Deposits here will now be held at Regions Bank, based in Birmingham, Alabama, and FirstBank’s branches will reopen as Regions branches.

Alliance Bank, Culver City, California. Deposits here will now be held at California Bank & Trust, based in San Diego, California, and Alliance’s branches will reopen as California B&T branches.

County Bank, Merced, California. Deposits here have been transferred to Westamerica Bank, based in San Rafael, California, and County’s branches are reopening today as Westamerica branches.

These banks were closed earlier this year:

  • MagnetBank, Salt Lake City, Utah does not have a receiving bank, so the FDIC will be mailing checks to customers for their insured amounts.
  • Suburban Federal Savings Bank, Crofton, MD has transferred its deposits to Bank of Essex, Tappahannock, VA.
  • Ocala National Bank, Ocala, FL has transferred its deposits to CenterState Bank of Florida, National Association, Winter Haven, FL.
  • 1st Centennial Bank, Redlands, CA has transferred its deposits to First California Bank, Westlake Village, CA.
  • Bank of Clark County, Vancouver, WA has transferred its deposits to Umpqua Bank, Roseburg, OR.
  • National Bank of Commerce, Berkeley, IL has transferred its deposits to Republic Bank of Chicago, Oak Brook, IL.

When deposits change hands, it’s usually uneventful. As you can see, occasionally, the FDIC cannot find a bank willing to take on a failed bank’s deposits. This is the case with MagnetBank. In cases like this, bank customers will have access to all their money within the insured limits, but there is a slight amount of hassle required to find a new bank.

We are only five weeks into 2009 and nine banks have already failed. Could that number be one hundred by the end of the year?

Published or updated February 9, 2009.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

Eh. It’s just a natural cycle of a down economy. It’s nothing to be afraid of.

I know a lot of business people who love down economies. It gives them the ability to reduce their competition. I was just talking to a friend of mine about the economy. He said his business was effected like everyone else but he was still glad about the overall economy. He’s working extra hard right now on running his competition out of business. He’s reducing his expenses while increasing his sales efforts. He has already “stolen” a few clients from his competitors.

So I think these types of things are just common in every industry, not just the banking industry. And it’s not like the banks listed above are Bank of America or JPMorgan Chase. They are relatively small banks.

So this doesn’t worry me in the least.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

100? are you kidding me…that is barely 1%

There are 8500 banks in the country. I dont think 2-3% failure rate would be unheard of. Just look at the late 80s, we had 400-500 banks a year fail:

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avatar 3 Anonymous

It looks like its all the small banks that are closing down. Maybe it’s a good idea to keep your money spread out in a few different places? This was an interesting post and I believe that ’09 isn’t going to be any prettier than last year.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Interesting…is there a site we can reference to see which banks have failed?

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avatar 5 Luke Landes
avatar 6 Anonymous

Super! At least they didn’t take TARP funds. I’m sure the bank taking them over (or their assets) have taken a sip from the taxpayer fountain.

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