The Field Report with Tom Field

Failed Banks and Credit Unions: The True Picture

Failed Banks and Credit Unions: The True Picture

OK, this time for sure.

You may recall me speculating about a month ago about the true number of failed banks and credit unions so far in 2009. Especially the credit unions. I had one number that I'd been tracking since Jan. 1, but in an interview, Deborah Matz, chair of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), quoted me another one altogether - a higher number, mind you.

Turns out that the discrepancy was because Matz was counting several "assisted mergers" among credit unions, and not all of that news had been announced publicly. We could get the names of those additional failed credit unions, we were told - but not without filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Which I did.

Well, I got the NCUA's response yesterday, we checked their records against ours, found nine additional "assisted mergers" of which we'd not been aware (most of them very small institutions), and we added those to our running list and interactive map of failed banks and credit unions. Now we have a much clearer picture of the year's damage.

As of this moment, 124 banks and 29 credit unions have been closed, acquired or placed into conservatorship so far in 2009. That's 152 institutions - 112 more than the 40 that failed in all of 2008. Needless to say, the most failed institutions that we've seen in years. And right in the ballpark of the 150-200 failures that analysts have predicted for this year.

Mind you, the year isn't over - the week isn't even over. How many will there be this week? Who knows?

I do know this: Whatever this week's tally, our number will now be comprehensive and accurate.

Stay tuned.

About the Author

Tom Field

Tom Field

Senior Vice President, Editorial, ISMG

Field is responsible for all of ISMG's 28 global media properties and its team of journalists. He also helped to develop and lead ISMG's award-winning summit series that has brought together security practitioners and industry influencers from around the world, as well as ISMG's series of exclusive executive roundtables.

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