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7 banks closed in Fla., Ga., Ill., Kan., Ariz.

Regulators close 7 banks in Fla., Ga., Ill., Kan., Ariz.; 139 US bank failures this year Regulators on Friday shut down a total of seven banks in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas and Arizona, lifting to 139 the number of U.S. banks that have fallen this year as soured loans have mounted and the economy has sputtered.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the banks, the largest of which by far was Hillcrest Bank, based in Overland Park, Kan., with $1.6 billion in assets.

A newly chartered bank subsidiary of Boston-based NBH Holdings Corp. was set up to take over Hillcrest's assets and deposits. The new subsidiary is called Hillcrest Bank N.A.

The FDIC and Hillcrest Bank N.A. agreed to share losses on $1.1 billion of the failed bank's assets. Its failure is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $329.7 million.

Also shuttered were First Bank of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla., with $81 million in assets; Progress Bank of Florida, based in Tampa, with $110.7 million in assets; First National Bank of Barnesville in Barnesville, Ga., with $131.4 million in assets; Gordon Bank of Gordon, Ga., with $29.4 million in assets; First Suburban National Bank in Maywood, Ill., with $148.7 million in assets; and First Arizona Savings, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., with assets of $272.2 million.

Ameris Bank, based in Moultrie, Ga., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of First Bank of Jacksonville. Bay Cities Bank, based in Tampa, is buying the assets and deposits of Progress Bank.

United Bank, based in Zebulon, Ga., is assuming the assets and deposits of First National Bank of Barnesville, while Morris Bank of Dublin, Ga., is assuming the deposits and $11.5 million of the assets of Gordon Bank. The FDIC will retain the rest for eventual sale.

Seaway Bank and Trust Co., based in Chicago, is assuming the assets and deposits of First Suburban National Bank.

The FDIC was unable to find a buyer for First Arizona Savings, and it approved the payout of the bank's insured deposits. The agency said it will mail checks to depositors for their insured funds on Monday.

In addition, the FDIC and Ameris Bank agreed to share losses on $60 million of First Bank of Jacksonville's loans and other assets. The FDIC and Bay Cities Bank are sharing losses on $82.6 million of Progress Bank of Florida's assets, while the agency and United Bank are sharing losses on $107.3 million of First National Bank of Barnesville's assets.

The FDIC and Seaway Bank and Trust are sharing losses on $116.6 million of First Suburban National Bank's assets.

The failure of First Bank of Jacksonville is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $16.2 million; the failure of Progress Bank of Florida is expected to cost $25 million; that of First National Bank of Barnesville, $33.9 million; that of Gordon Bank, $9 million; First Suburban National Bank, $31.4 million; and First Arizona Savings, $32.8 million.

Florida, Georgia and Illinois are among the states hardest hit by bank collapses, stemming from the meltdown in the real estate market that brought an avalanche of soured mortgage loans. The shutdowns Friday brought the number of bank failures in Florida this year to 27, and to 16 each for Georgia and Illinois.

With 139 closures nationwide so far this year, the pace of bank failures exceeds that of 2009, which was already a brisk year for shutdowns with a total of 140. By this time last year, regulators had closed 106 banks.

The pace has accelerated as banks' losses mount on loans made for commercial property and development. Many companies have shut down in the recession, vacating shopping malls and office buildings financed by the loans. That has brought delinquent loan payments and defaults by commercial developers.

The 2009 total of bank failures was the highest annual tally since 1992, at the height of the savings and loan crisis. The 2009 failures cost the insurance fund more than $30 billion. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force; only three succumbed in 2007.

The growing bank failures have sapped billions of dollars out of the deposit insurance fund. It fell into the red last year, and its deficit stood at $15.2 billion as of June 30.

The number of banks on the FDIC's confidential "problem" list jumped to 829 in the second quarter from 775 three months earlier, even as the industry as a whole had its best quarter since 2007, making $21.6 billion in net income. Banks with more than $10 billion in assets -- only 1.3 percent of the industry -- accounted for $19.9 billion of the total earnings.

The FDIC expects the cost of resolving failed banks to total around $52 billion from 2010 through 2014.

Depositors' money -- insured up to $250,000 per account -- is not at risk, with the FDIC backed by the government. That insurance cap was made permanent in the financial overhaul law enacted in July.

Written by: Marcy Gordon, AP Business Writer

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