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Robert Trigaux

Florida's most troubled banks double to 40 as recession, real estate woes take toll



BankunitedfailAPMiami HeraldPatrickFarrell

Wake up and good morning. I know you're tired of hearing about the difficult state of Florida banking, but it's critical to keep up with the pace and depth of the decline. Bauer Financial, which takes quarterly FDIC call report data on individual banks, ranks banks from "5 stars" (great shape) down to "zero" stars (serious trouble).

New rankings are out from Bauer this week, based on the quarter ended June 30, that are ominous. (Photo: On May 21, during the federal seizure of BankUnited FSB in Coral Gables, Fla., Linda F. Beavers, regional ombudsman with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., puts a up a press release announcing the bank's failure and sale to an investor group. Photo by AP/Miami Herald/Patrick Farrell.)

At the end of the first quarter, "zero" star banks had doubled to about 20 from the previous quarter. Now, the second quarter, June 30 numbers show the zero star banks doubling again to 40.

That's nasty. Bauer ranked 301 banks in Florida and 40, or 13 percent, had the worst possible rankings. It is very difficult (though not impossible) for a "zero" star bank to recover in an economy crawling out of a recession.

Nationwide, 92 banks have failed so far this year. Florida has suffered six of those bank failures in 2009, in which the FDIC took over a Florida bank and sold it (or its viable parts) to another financial institution. Here are those six failures:

Community National Bank of Sarasota County, Sarasota
First State Bank, Sarasota
Integrity Bank, Jupiter
BankUnited, FSB, Coral Gables
Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast, Cape Coral
Ocala National Bank, Ocala

But let's look more closely at the 40 "zero" star banks as of June 30. What stands out in neon lights is the extraordinary concentration of these troubled banks in or around Naples, on the extreme southwestern coast of Florida. Seven of the 40, or 17 percent, of banks in the worst shape in the state are based in Naples (including one on adjacent Marco Island). Either too many banks crammed into Naples, lured by the city's serious retirement wealth and high-end housing boom, or financial regulators continue to keep a hands-off approach to dealing with so many dud institutions there.

Other geographic mini-clusters include tiny Bradenton, which given its size continues to be awash in troubled banks. And parts of the Panhandle, notably Panama City Beach, have more than their fair share. What do these areas have in common? An unhealthy concentration of economic activity dependent on real estate development. The vast majority of these struggling banks were not diversified, so when real estate tanked they got sucked in the whirlpool as well.

Only one bank deemed a "zero" star bank, Tampa's First Commercial Bank, is based in the immediate Tampa Bay metro area.

Here are the 40 banks that as of June 30 were rated with a "zero star" by Bauer Financial:

American First Bank: Clermont, FL
Bank of Bonifay: Bonifay, FL
Bank of Florida - Southwest: Naples, FL
Bank of Miami N.A.: Coral Gables, FL
Bayside Savings Bank: Port St. Joe, FL
Century Bank a Federal Savings Bank: Sarasota, FL
Coastal Bank: Merritt Island, FL
Coastal Community Bank: Panama City Beach, FL
Commerce Bank of Southwest Florida: Fort Myers, FL
Community Bank of Manatee: Bradenton, FL
Community National Bank At Bartow: Bartow, FL
First City Bank of Florida: Fort Walton Beach, FL
First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay: Tampa, FL
First East Side Savings Bank: Tamarac, FL
First Federal Bank of North Florida: Palatka, FL
First National Bank of Florida: Milton, FL
Flagship National Bank: Bradenton, FL
Florida Community Bank: Immokalee, FL
Gulf State Community Bank: Carrabelle, FL
Haven Trust Bank of Florida: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Hillcrest Bank Florida: Naples, FL
Horizon Bank: Bradenton, FL
Key West Bank: Key West, FL
Liberty Bank: Naples, FL
Marco Community Bank: Marco Island, FL
Ocean Bank: Miami, FL
Olde Cypress Community Bank: Clewiston, FL
Orion Bank: Naples, FL
Partners Bank: Naples, FL
Peninsula Bank: Englewood, FL
Peoples First Community Bank: Panama City, FL
Premier American Bank: Miami, FL
Republic Federal Bank N.A.: Miami, FL
Riverside National Bank of Florida: Fort Pierce, FL
Royal Palm Bank of Florida: Naples, FL
Security Bank N.A.: North Lauderdale, FL
Sun American Bank: Boca Raton, FL
Sunshine State Community Bank: Port Orange, FL
Turnberry Bank: Aventura, FL
Vision Bank: Panama City, FL

The St. Petersburg Times offers a database of Florida banks which can be searched for star ratings. It will be updated with the latest second quarter information soon.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:26am]


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