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Banks Reverse Losses

FDIC-insured institutions earn $2.8 billion in Q3

Nov. 25, 2009

By staff

Banks and thrifts saw quarterly earnings turn from a loss to a profit. But the pace of bank failures hasn't eased, though the pace of new charters slowed to a trickle.

U.S. financial institutions held $1.9285 trillion in residential mortgages as of the third quarter, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reported. Home loan holdings fell from $2.0122 trillion in the prior quarter and $2.1020 trillion the prior year.

Residential delinquency of at least 30 days finished September at 11.21 percent, leaping from 9.77 percent at the end of June.

Banks and thrifts also held $0.6675 trillion in home-equity lines-of-credit, lower than the second quarter's $0.6729 trillion but more than $0.6521 trillion in the third-quarter 2008.

HELOC delinquency concluded the third quarter at 3.11 percent, rising from 2.97 percent the prior quarter.

Construction and development loans were $0.4922 trillion, lower than $0.5358 trillion three months earlier.

Third-quarter earnings at the institutions were $2.8 billion. The profit reversed a $3.7 billion second-quarter loss.

The sector earned $0.9 billion in the third-quarter 2008.

More than one-quarter of FDIC-insured banks and thrifts were unprofitable during the latest quarter, up from just under one-quarter a year earlier.

"Today's report shows that, while bank and thrift earnings have improved, the effects of the recession continue to be reflected in their financial performance," FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in the statement.

The FDIC highlighted a $54 billion decline in assets held by the institutions, though the decline was down from the second quarter's $238 billion.

The FDIC insured 8,099 institutions in the third quarter, fewer than 8,195 in the prior period. The count was impacted by 47 mergers and 50 failures -- the most closings since 1992's 55. A year ago, 8,384 banks and thrifts reported.

The latest count included 6,911 commercial banks and 1,188 savings institutions.

Rising failures depleted the Deposit Insurance Fund by $18.6 billion during the third quarter, leaving an $8.2 billion deficit. The fund is used to pay depositors when failed banks cannot. Still, the FDIC noted that it has $23.3 billion in cash and marketable securities. In addition, a $45 billion three-year prepayment is being paid by U.S. institutions this quarter to bolster the fund.

Only three new charters occurred in the quarter -- the fewest institutions to be chartered in any quarter "since World War II."

The number of problem institutions jumped to 552 from 416 three months earlier. Assets at problem institutions climbed to $345.9 billion from $299.8 billion. The count and assets are at the highest levels since 1993.

Aggregate headcount at all FDIC-insured institutions was 2,069,405, fewer than 2,093,060 in the second quarter. The number of banking employees last year was 2,170,931.

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