Colin Barr

Following the money in banking, economics, and Washington

Bank failures take a breather

August 30, 2010: 10:09 AM ET

 Bank regulators are getting a welcome late summer respite.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported no bank failures Friday. That marks the first failure-free Friday since the weekend of July 4.

Banks getting more problematic

And because the FDIC tends not to close banks on a holiday weekend – reopening a day late could add to depositor anxieties the agency spends considerable effort minimizing – we seem to be on track for the first two-week stretch without a bank closing since the holiday Fridays of Dec. 25, 2009 and Jan. 1, 2010.

That's not to say fall will be a barrel of monkeys for bankers and their overseers. Already this year 118 banks have failed, and FDIC chief Sheila Bair has said she expects 2010 bank failures to exceed last year's tally of 140. With the economy softening and a third of the year yet to unfold, we could exceed the 179 failures recorded in 1992, as the savings and loan crisis abated.

Fortunately, the 1989 record of 531 failures looks well out of reach. The FDIC will update the status of the banking industry and its problem bank list tomorrow morning.

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About This Author
Colin Barr
Colin Barr
Senior Writer, Fortune

Colin Barr has covered finance for Fortune.com since November 2007. Previously he was a writer and editor for TheStreet.com, winning a 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street," and for Dow Jones Newswires. He is a 1991 graduate of Penn State and lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife Meena Bose and their two kids.

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