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9 Banks Down and 1 Web Forgery

By Dian Vujovich

The banking business sure isn’t what it used to be. Here in the Sunshine State almost as many banks have failed this year as we have fingers on our hands. Most located on the other side of our State.

Last week Florida regulators closed three banks. They were Partners Bank and Hillcrest Bank Florida, both in Naples, and Flagship National Bank in Bradenton.

That brings the total so far this year to nine, according to a recent piece in St. Petersburg Times, (http://tinyurl.com/ygnquy3). Nationwide, 103 banks have failed thus far and more are likely to follow. That figure is creeping awfully close to the number that failed during the savings-and-loan mess 17 years ago in 1992 when 120 banks failed. Ugly.

The good news is that assets and deposits in all three of the recent closings were purchased: Stonegate Bank in Ft. Lauderdale bought those of both Partners Bank and Hillcrest Bank Florida, and First Federal Bank of Florida in Lake City assumed all of the Flagship National Bank’s deposits.

More good news, FDIC currently guarantees account each account up to $250,000.

Back to not-so-good news, some think that within the next few years hundreds of more banks could go south. With strain already on the FDIC insurance fund, if the number of banks closing hits 400, as some estimate it will, I can’t help but wonder how that could alter per account guarantee caps.

Maybe that safe-in-a-mattress story I wrote a number of months ago isn’t such a bad idea after all.

To get up-to-date info on bank failures visit http://www.fidic.gov.

Here are the names of the nine Florida banks that have failed in 2009 in order of their closing, according to the FDIC:

•Ocala National Bank, Ocala;

•Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast, Cape Coral;

•BankUnited, Coral Gables;

•Integrity Bank, Jupiter;

•First State Bank, Sarasota

•Community National Bank of Sarasota County, Venice

•Partners Bank, Naples

•Hillcrest Bank Florida, Naples

•Flagship National Bank, Bradenton

I filed this blog this morning and this afternoon received the email that follows. If you get an e-mail like this, don’t do as it requests. It’s a web forgery:

“You have received this message because you are a holder of a FDIC-insured bank account.Recently FDIC has officially named the bank you have opened your account with as a failed bank, thus, taking control of its assets.

“You need to visit the official FDIC website and perform the following steps to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage:

* Visit FDIC website: http://www.fdic.gov/bankinsured/failed/personalfile

* Download and open your personal FDIC Insurance File to check your Deposit Insurance Coverage.”

That was followed by this e-mail: “Reported Web Forgery!

“This web site at http://www.fdic.gov.h1erfaw.eu has been reported as a web forgery and has been blocked based on your security preferences.

“Web forgeries are designed to trick you into revealing personal or financial information by imitating sources you may trust.

“Entering any information on this web page may result in identity theft or other fraud.”

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