By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. bank regulators closedthree small banks in Georgia, one in Wisconsin, one in Ohio andone in New Jersey, the U.S. Federal Deposit InsuranceCorporation said Friday.
The failures bring to 125 the total number of banks thathave failed this year, many of them community banks.
Community banks continue to be hit hard by the weak economyand bad loans on their books. The recovery of the communitybank industry has lagged behind that of Wall Street and thelarger economy.
In Georgia, regulators closed the Peoples Bank in Winderwhich had total assets of $447.2 million as of the end of June,First Commerce Community Bank in Douglasville with total assetsof $248.2 million, and the Bank of Ellijay in Ellijay, whichhad total assets of $168.8 million.
Deposits in the three banks were transferred to Community &Southern Bank in Carrollton, Georgia.
In Wisconsin, regulators closed the Maritime Savings Bankin West Allis, Wisconsin, which had nine branches and about$350.5 million in total assets as of the end of June. Itsdeposits will be assumed by North Shore Bank, also inWisconsin.
The FDIC said regulators had closed ISN Bank of CherryHill, New Jersey, which had about $81.6 million in totalassets. New Century Bank has assumed its deposits.
Bramble Savings Bank in Milford, Ohio, which has just onebranch and assets of $47.5 million, was also closed byregulators. It will be taken over by Foundation Bank.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in recent weeks that theagency anticipates the number of failures this year will exceedthe 2009 total of 140, but that total assets of this year'sfailures will probably be lower.
The annual level of bank failures has not reached thelevels during the savings and loan crisis, when 534institutions were seized in 1989 alone.
While failures are still occurring at a rapid pace, it ismostly smaller institutions that have been collapsing as theydeal with problems in the commercial real estate market.Community banks tend to have higher concentrations of theseloans than larger banks.
Washington Mutual, which had $307 billion in assets when itwas seized in September 2008, remains the largest bank to failduring the financial crisis.
The FDIC, which insures individual accounts up to $250,000,gave an update on the overall health of the bank industry onAugust 31, saying that while it sees improvements in theindustry the struggling economy continues to be a factor in thethe reluctance of businesses and consumers to borrow. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Richard Chang)