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Regulators close 4 small banks in US

UNITED States regulators closed four small banks last Friday - two in Georgia, one in Minnesota and one in California, bringing the total of US bank failures to 44 this year.

Community Bank of West Georgia - a small bank in Villa Rica, Georgia, with assets of US$199.4 million and total deposits of US$182.5 million, as of May 15 - was closed. A buyer could not be found, so the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was appointed as receiver and will mail checks to insured depositors for their insured funds today.

Neighborhood Community Bank, of Newnan, Georgia, with US$221.6 million in assets and US$191.3 million in deposits, as of March 31, was also closed. CharterBank, of West Point, Georgia, agreed to assume the insured deposits and US$209.6 million of the assets. Neighborhood's four offices will reopen as CharterBank branches.

The third bank to be closed was Horizon Bank, of Pine City, Minnesota, with US$87.6 million in assets and US$69.4 million in deposits as of March 31. Stearns Bank, NA, of St Cloud, Minnesota, agreed to assume all of Horizon's deposits and to buy US$84.4 million of its assets. Horizon's two offices have reopened as Stearns branches.

MetroPacific Bank, of Irvine, California, was also closed. It had US$80 million in assets and US$73 million in deposits, as of June 8. Sunwest Bank, of Tustin, California, agreed to assume all of the deposits, excluding those from brokers, and virtually all of MetroPacific's assets. MetroPacific's sole office will reopen today as a branch of Sunwest Bank.

In 2008, 25 US banks were seized by officials, up from only three in 2007.

During the current financial crisis, Seattle-based lender Washington Mutual became the biggest bank to fail in US history. It was closed in September, suffering from losses from soured mortgages.

The FDIC will insure up to US$250,000 per account.

The agency has a tally of around 300 problem banks that its examiners monitor.


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