According to the FDIC, over 700 banks are currently at risk of going under, a huge jump over the last three years, and a bit of a shocker given the size of the federal stimulus. The FDIC has already shuttered 20 banks this year, and there is no sign that things will improve in the coming months.
Banks at risk of going bust tops 700 | CNN Money
In a deal brokered by the feds, Citigroup has agreed to acquire the majority of Wachovia, the latest bank to fail. From CNN:
Citigroup will acquire the banking operations of Wachovia for $2.2 billion in an all-stock deal, following much speculation over the weekend about the fate of the nation’s fourth-largest bank.
“The FDIC centers its approach on reducing monthly payments (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) to 38 percent of household income. It works with the first mortgage and with people who are delinquent or approaching a higher interest rate. It’s not charging fees or late charges.
On average, borrowers with modified loans are saving $430 a month, Bair has said.”
If Enough Banks Fail, The FDIC Could Run Out Of Money | Consumerist
If anyone were still in doubt as to whether or not the United States economy is in recession, the FDIC’s problem list now includes 90 banks at risk of failure. This is not a large number, since there are about 8,500 banks in the country, but it is up from 76 last year.
Historically, only about 13% of banks on the FDIC problem list do fail, and those that cannot correct their problems are either sold to another bank or taken over by the FDIC.
Deregulation refers to the point at which the U.S. government threw up its hands and said “all right banks, power companies, airlines, etc., do whatever you want!” and the deregulated industries had a big party. Eminent jurist and economic theorist Richard Posner says that might have been a mistake: “a tighter ceiling should be placed on the risks that banks are permitted to take.”
In what is hopefully the start of something, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced the selection of 30 banks to participate in a two-year pilot project to help identify best practices in affordable small-dollar loan programs that can be replicated by financial institutions.
“Our goal is to identify small-dollar loan programs that are profitable for lenders and affordable alternatives to payday loans and other high-cost loans that are harming consumers and communities across America,” said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair.
I am glad that Chairman Blair recognized the harm payday loans and other high-cost loans do to consumers and communities.
Loan amounts of up to $1,000;
Amortization periods longer than a single pay cycle and up to 36 months for closed-end credit, or minimum payments that reduce principal (i.e., do not result in negative amortization) for open-end credit;
Annual percentage rates (APR) below 36 percent;
No prepayment penalties;
Origination and/or maintenance fees limited to the amount necessary to cover actual costs; and
An automatic savings component.