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6 Banks Shuttered; Makes 34 Closed In ’11

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators on Friday shut down a total of six banks in Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota and Mississippi, boosting the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 34. There were 157 bank closures in 2010 amid the shattered economy and piles of bad loans.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized the banks, the largest by far being Superior Bank, based in Birmingham, Ala., with $3 billion in assets and about 70 branches in Alabama and Florida.

A newly chartered bank subsidiary of Houston-based Community Bancorp LLC was set up to take over Superior Bank’s assets and deposits. The new subsidiary is called Superior Bank NA.

In addition, the FDIC and Superior Bank NA agreed to share losses on $1.84 billion of the failed bank’s loans and other assets.

Superior Bank received $69 million in taxpayer funds in December 2008 under the government’s financial bailout program, Treasury Department data show.

Its failure is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $259.6 million.

Also shuttered were Birmingham-based Nexity Bank, with $793.7 million in assets; Bartow County Bank of Cartersville, Ga., with $330.2 million in assets; New Horizons Bank in East Ellijay, Ga., with $110.7 million in assets; Rosemount National Bank in Rosemount, Minn., with $37.6 million in assets; and Heritage Banking Group, based in Carthage, Miss., with $224 million in assets.

AloStar Bank of Commerce, also based in Birmingham, agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Nexity Bank. Hamilton State Bank, based in Hoschton, Ga., is assuming the assets and deposits of Bartow County Bank. Citizens South Bank, based in Gastonia, N.C., is acquiring the assets and deposits of New Horizons Bank. Central Bank, based in Stillwater, Minn., is assuming those of Rosemount National Bank. Trustmark National Bank, based in Jackson, Miss., is taking those of Heritage Banking Group.

In addition, the FDIC and AloStar Bank of Commerce agreed to share losses on $384.2 million of Nexity Bank’s loans and other assets. The agency and Hamilton State Bank are sharing losses on $247.5 million of Bartow County Bank’s loans and other assets. The agency and Citizens South Bank are sharing losses on $84.7 million of New Horizons Bank’s assets. The FDIC and Trustmark National Bank are sharing losses on $156.4 million of Heritage Banking Group’s assets.

The failure of Nexity Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $175.4 million. The failure of Bartow County Bank is expected to cost $69.5 million; that of New Horizons Bank $30.9 million; Rosemount National Bank, $3.6 million; and Heritage Banking Group, $49.1 million.

Georgia has been one of the hardest-hit states for bank failures. Sixteen banks were shuttered in the state last year. The shutdowns of Bartow County Bank and New Horizons Bank brought to eight the number of bank failures in the state this year.

California, Florida and Illinois also have seen large numbers of bank failures.

The 157 bank closures last year topped the 140 seized in 2009. It was the most in a year since the savings-and-loan crisis two decades ago.

The FDIC has said that 2010 likely would mark the peak for bank failures. Already this year the pace of closures has slowed: By this time last year, regulators had closed 50 banks.

The 2009 failures cost the insurance fund about $36 billion. The failures last year cost around $21 billion, a lower price tag because the banks that failed in 2010 were smaller on average. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force; only three were closed in 2007.

From 2008, the year the financial crisis struck, through 2010 bank failures cost the fund $76.8 billion.

The growing number of bank failures has sapped billions of dollars out of the deposit insurance fund. It fell into the red in 2009, and its deficit stood at $7.4 billion as of Dec. 31.

The number of banks on the FDIC’s confidential “problem” list rose to 884 in the final quarter of last year from 860 three months earlier. The 884 troubled banks is the highest number since 1993, during the savings-and-loan crisis.

The FDIC expects the cost of resolving failed banks to total around $52 billion from 2010 through 2014.

Depositors’ money — insured up to $250,000 per account — is not at risk, with the FDIC backed by the government. That insurance cap was made permanent in the financial overhaul law enacted in July.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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