FDIC takes control of Fla. bank, fourth to fail since July 11


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We all can start getting used to this: Friday is going to be Bank Failure Day in the U.S.A.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said late today that it took control of First Priority Bank of Bradenton, Fla., marking the eighth bank failure this year -- and the fourth just since July 11, when the feds seized IndyMac Bank of Pasadena.

First Priority had assets of $259 million and deposits of $227 million. And in a sign that the high-profile failure of IndyMac still hasn’t persuaded all bank depositors to keep their accounts within FDIC insurance limits, the agency estimated that First Priority had about $13 million in uninsured deposits.


SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta agreed to buy First Priority’s insured deposits and to take over the bank’s six branches. But the uninsured depositors, as in IndyMac’s case, will be paid 50% of those balances upfront and then will have to wait to see what the FDIC gets as it liquidates First Priority’s assets.

The FDIC prefers to close or sell insolvent banks on Fridays and reopen them on Mondays under government control or under a new owner.

FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair has been upfront in preparing the public -- and Congress -- for a surge in bank failures ahead, as real estate loan losses wipe out more lenders’ capital.

One week ago the agency took control of First Heritage Bank of Newport Beach and First National Bank of Nevada in Reno and turned them both over to Mutual of Omaha Bank. In those moves the uninsured depositors didn’t lose money because Mutual of Omaha agreed to assume all $3.2 billion of the banks’ deposits.

The FDIC is required by law to resolve bank failures in whatever way costs its insurance fund the least amount of money. That can depend on how much an acquiring bank is willing to pay for all or part of a failed institution.