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Bank Failures by the Numbers

empty-2dpockets-small.jpgThis isn’t mathleticism, this is simply truth in numbers. With Colonial Bank officially R.I.P. and torn to shreds (North Carolina-based BB&T has picked up the branches, the garbage will likely be marked down and sold off to whichever sucker the FDIC can find) this past week, it might be a good idea to look at the mathematical reality of the situation.
Lately, bank failures seem to lead tangentially to accounting in that banks often point the finger at mark-to-market as the key piece which sent them hurtling toward doom. Sure, blame the accounting, that’s always a classy move. But all’s fair in love and value right?
In an era where the word “trillion” hardly raises an eyebrow, let’s put this into perspective and look at the 5 largest bank failures of all time (in terms of costs to FDIC):
More, after the jump

5. BankUnited, Coral Gables, FL: $4.9 Billion
4. American Savings and Loan, Stockton, CA: $5.7 billion – at the time, the amount to cover American S & L cost the FDIC 10% of its “fund” and was one of the largest failures of the savings and loan crisis.
3. Continental deserves its whole epic tale
2. Washington Mutual (we can’t discuss costs to the FDIC for this one since JP Morgan swooped in to get it and there are still active lawsuits around the deal)
1. IndyMac: $10.7 billion. That wasn’t too long ago so you should still remember the tale.
In one day (this past Friday), the FDIC found itself on the hook for an estimated $3.68 billion, and surely that’s a positively-doctored number. Move along now, nothing to see here.

Authorities on August 14 closed down five banks — Colonial Bank; Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association; Union Bank, National Association; Community Bank of Arizona and Community Bank of Nevada.
As per the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which is often appointed as the caretaker of failed entities, the collapse of these five banks would cost the agency a staggering USD 3.68 billion.

Maybe now would be a good time to express a doubt.