The nation's banks are in far less danger than they were in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when more than 1,000 federally insured institutions went under during the savings-and-loan crisis. The debacle, the greatest collapse of American financial institutions since the Depression, prompted a government bailout that cost taxpayers about $125 billion.The thing that has really surprised me about this mortgage crisis is how few banks have failed so far compared with the late 1980s. Calculated Risk has a graph.
But the troubles are growing so rapidly at some small and midsize banks that as many as 150 out of the 7,500 banks nationwide could fail over the next 12 to 18 months, analysts say. Other lenders are likely to shut branches or seek mergers.
"Everybody is drawing up lists, trying to figure out who the next bank is, No. 1, and No. 2, how many of them are there," said Richard Bove, the banking analyst with Ladenburg Thalmann, who released a list of troubled banks over the weekend. "And No. 3, from the standpoint of Washington, how badly is it going to affect the economy?" ...
The future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is vital to the banks, savings and loans and credit unions, which own $1.3 trillion of securities issued or guaranteed by the two mortgage companies. If the mortgage giants ever defaulted on those obligations, banks might be forced to raise billions of dollars in additional capital.
The large institutions set to report results this week, including Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, are in no danger of failing, but some are expected to report more multibillion-dollar write-offs.
But time may be running out for some small and midsize lenders. They vary in size and location, but their common woe is the collapsed real estate market and souring mortgage loans. Most of these banks are far smaller than the industry giants that have drawn so much scrutiny from regulators and investors. ...
"Failed banks are a lagging indicator, not a leading indicator," said William Isaac, who was chairman of the FDIC in the early 1980s and is now the chairman of the Secura Group, a finance consulting firm in Virginia. "So you will see more troubled, more failed banks this year."
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Dozens of banks likely to fail
The International Herald Tribune says more U.S. banks are likely to fail over the next year.
Posted by James Tags: Financial crisis