Florida banks slipping, say Bauer Financial data
Amid the uproar on Wall Street, given Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch and Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Lehman Brothers, it comes as little surprise that the general health of Florida's banks continues to decline as well.
New numbers from the second quarter of 2008 designating the health of individual Florida banks are now available at Bauer Financial. The firm rates banks by "stars" so that a five-star bank is very healthy, a 3-star bank is okay and fewer stars indicate trouble. A "zero" star bank is in deep distress.
Here's the snapshot. Florida has seven "zero" star banks that, in the greater Tampa Bay area, include: Freedom Bank of Bradenton (not the one in St. Petersburg), Ocala National Bank, Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast in Cape Coral, and Community National Bank of Sarasota County in Venice. There are just two one-star banks, in Sarasota and Immokalee.
As for the remaining banks, you can see a general slippage to fewer stars in the ratings. There are 26 two-star banks in the latest quarter, up from just eight in the fourth quarter of 2007. And the 71 top five-star banks listed in the last quarter of '07 have dwindled to 40 in the latest quarter. The St. Petersburg Times will be listing all of these banks as well as credit unions on its money.tampabay.com page later this week.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist