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List of 'troubled' Florida banks grows to 47, six in bay area

One of every four Florida banks is now considered troubled, with the number of severely troubled banks in the Tampa Bay area doubling in recent months.

Bauer Financial, which released its ratings Tuesday, gave six area banks a "zero-star" rating for the fourth quarter, which means they are "troubled and problematic" and face "considerable challenges at this time." In other words, they are most vulnerable to joining 18 other Florida banks that have failed since the beginning of 2008.

Three of the banks were already zero stars: Bank of Florida, Tampa Bay; First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay; and Southshore Community Bank in Apollo Beach. The three newcomers are Old Harbor Bank in Clearwater; Progress Bank of Florida in Tampa; and Southern Commerce Bank in Tampa.

Both Progress Bank and Old Harbor were previously two-stars, and Southern Commerce was a one-star.

Bauer Financial rates banks from zero to five stars. Five stars means "superior" and are on Bauer's recommendation list. First National Bank of Pasco in Dade City and Hillsboro Bank in Plant City are the only five-star banks in the bay area.

Despite the surge in problem banks, the Tampa Bay area is still faring better than other parts of Florida, particularly South Florida and the Bradenton area. Of 286 Florida banks, 47 received zero stars, up from 43 last quarter. In addition, 23 received a one-star "troubled" rating and four on the list have recently failed or are being operated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. That puts 26 percent of Florida banks in the troubled or worse category.

The FDIC recently said the number of banks on its "problem list" swelled 27 percent in the past quarter to 702, the most since 1993. That translates to one of every 11 U.S. banks in need of more capital to stay afloat.

The problem is acute in markets such as Florida, where community bankers are dealing with high levels of problem loans, particularly in commercial real estate.

Ken Thomas, a Miami-based banking consultant and economist, predicts 200 more bank failures this year nationally, 20 of them in Florida. After opening a satellite office in Jacksonville to handle bank closings, the FDIC initially focused on Georgia and smaller banks in west-central Florida south of Tampa Bay, Thomas said.

"Starting this year, they are coming further south," focusing on South Florida, he said, citing four recent failures. "There are many more here to be closed."

Simultaneous with the bank update, Bauer also released ratings for credit unions. None of the 179 institutions included received zero stars.

Ratings were based on financial data for the period ended Dec. 31.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at jharrington@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8242.

6 local banks gets zeros

Bauer Financial gave 47, or 16.5 percent, of Florida banks a "zero-star" rating for the fourth quarter. Of those 47, six are in the bay area.

Bank Location
Bank of Florida Tampa
First Commercial Bank
of Tampa Bay
Tampa
Old Harbor Bank Clearwater
Progress Bank of Florida Tampa
Southern Commerce Bank Tampa
Southshore Community Bank Apollo Beach

For a complete list of Florida's zero-star banks, go to www.tampabay.com/banks/ratings. Find consumer tips at
fdic.gov.










Bank



Location




Bank of Florida



Tampa




First Commercial Bank
of Tampa Bay



Tampa




Old Harbor Bank



Clearwater




Progress Bank of Florida



Tampa




Southern Commerce Bank



Tampa




Southshore Community Bank



Apollo Beach





For a complete list of Florida's zero-star banks, go to blogs.tampabay.com/venture. For ratings for previous quarters, visit money.tampabay.com and look for "Your bank's health" on the right side. Find consumer tips at fdic.gov.

List of 'troubled' Florida banks grows to 47, six in bay area 03/09/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 24, 2011 5:22pm]
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