Six banks fail, in Florida, Georgia and California

Regulators shuttered six banks Friday night, notching up 15 failed banks in the first month of in 2010.

The biggest bank to fall was First Regional Bank in Los Angeles, which had deposits of $1.87 billion. Other failed banks include Community Bank and Trust in Cornelia, Ga.; Florida Community Bank in Immokalee, Fla.; First National Bank of Georgia in Carrollton, Ga.; Marshall Bank in Hallock, Minn.; and American Marine Bank in Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Customers of all six banks are protected, however. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which has insured bank deposits since the Great Depression, currently covers accounts up to $250,000.

First-Citizens Bank & Trust in Raleigh, N.C, aquired nearly all the assets of the day’s biggest failure, First Regional. The bank’s eight branches will reopen Monday under their new ownership.

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SCBT in Orangeburg, S.C., will assume Community Bank and Trust’s $1.1 billion in deposits and will purchase “essentially all” of the failed bank’s $1.2 billion in assets. SCBT entered into a loss-share agreement with the FDIC on $827.7 million of Community Bank and Trust’s assets.

The 36 branches of Community Bank and Trust will reopen as branches of SCBT.

Premier American Bank in Miami will assume Florida Community Bank’s $796 million in deposits, and will purchase $499 million of the failed bank’s $876 in assets. Premier American Bank entered into a loss-share agreement with the FDIC on $305.4 million of the failed bank’s assets.

The 11 branches of Florida Community Bank will reopen as branches of Premier American Bank.

Community & Southern Bank in Carrollton, Ga., will assume First National Bank of Georgia’s $757.9 million in deposits and “essentially all” of the failed bank’s $832.6 million in assets, according to the FDIC. Community & Southern Bank entered into a loss-share agreement with the FDIC on $607.4 million of the failed bank’s assets.

The 11 branches of First National Bank of Georgia will reopen as branches of Community & Southern Bank.

United Valley Bank in Cavalier, N.D., will assume Marshall Bank’s $55 million in deposits and will purchase “essentially all” of the failed bank’s $60 million in assets, according to the FDIC. United Valley Bank entered into a share-loss agreement with the FDIC on $24 million of failed bank’s assets.

The three branches of Marshall Bank will reopen as branches of United Valley Bank.

Columbia State Bank in Tacoma, Wash., will assume American Marine Bank’s $309 million in total deposits. American Marine Bank’s 11 branches will reopen on Saturday as branches of Columbia State Bank.

Friday’s closures will cost the FDIC approximately $1.9 billion.

Customers of the failed banks can access their money over the weekend by writing checks or using ATMs or debit cards. Checks will continue to be processed, and borrowers should make mortgage and loan payments as usual.

The FDIC also said customers should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice that the takeover has been completed.

A total of 140 banks failed in 2009, the highest since 1992, when 181 banks failed. But that count is far from 1989’s record high of 534 closures which took place during the savings and loan crisis.

Last year’s spike has raised concerns about the federal deposit insurance fund, which has slipped into the red for the first time since 1991.

The fund was $8.2 billion in the hole as of the end of September. But that includes $21.7 billion the agency has earmarked for future bank failures

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