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Bank Sector Performance Sinks

171 problem institutions

November 25, 2008

By staff

Banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation saw their collective quarterly profits fall more than $25 billion from last year. The number of problem institutions rose by nearly half while the number of bank failures reached the highest level in 15 years. Mortgage delinquency soared.

FDIC-insured banks held $13.574 trillion in assets at the end of September, including $2.102 trillion in residential loans and $0.652 trillion in home-equity lines-of-credit, according to FDIC's Quarterly Banking Profile released today.

Residential mortgage delinquency of at least 30 days was 6.09 percent on Sept. 30, soaring from 4.29 percent three months earlier. HELOC delinquency was 2.36 percent, unchanged.

Net charge-offs increased for the seventh consecutive quarter to reach $27.9 billion, jumping form $17 billion a year earlier. Residential mortgage charge-offs increased $4.6 billion, while HELOC charge-offs jumped $2.1 billion.

The sector earned $1.7 billion in the third quarter, down from $5.0 billion in the second quarter and $28.7 billion 12 months earlier.

The FDIC said 73 institutions were absorbed through mergers during the third quarter, while 21 new institutions were chartered and four savings institutions converted from mutual ownership to stock ownership. The number of problem institutions rose to 171 from 117 in the second quarter.

During the latest period, nine institutions failed. Among the failures was Washington Mutual Bank -- the largest bank failure in U.S. history. Quarterly failures are at the highest level since the third-quarter 1993, when 16 insured banks failed. So far this year, 22 institutions have failed.

By Sept. 30, the number of insured commercial banks and savings institutions fell to 8,384 from 8,451 on June 30.

Employment at FDIC-insured banks ended the third quarter at 2.171 million.

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