The biggest U.S. banks have rebounded smartly since the financial crisis, thanks to government bailouts and lax accounting rules. But their smaller brethren haven’t fared so well. A whopping 157 banks have failed this year, the highest total since 1992 and up from 140 last year, according to the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corp. (FDIC), The Washington Post reports.
Another 860 banks stood on the FDIC's list of "problem" institutions as of Sept. 30 — those whose weaknesses "threaten their continued financial viability." That’s the biggest total for that category since 1993.
Historically, about 20 percent of the banks on that list end up failing.
The FDIC insurance fund has fallen into a deficit, but the agency predicts it can comfortably meet the expected cost of collapses through 2014. The agency forecasts that 2010 will represent the peak of bank failures.
"Going forward, the FDIC looks to see fewer failures," agency spokesman Greg Hernandez tells The Post. Many private analysts agree.
"I think we're over the hump of the problem but far from the end," banking consultant Bert Ely tells The Post.
The Wall Street Journal reports that 98 banks which received bailouts are in danger of failing. A lot of smaller aid recipients are stuck with troubled commercial real estate loans, Arthur Wilmarth, a bank expert at George Washington University, tells the newspaper.
“A lot of them are in kind of a frozen position," he says.
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