Regulators close a bank in Georgia

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Regulators on Friday closed a bank Georgia, bringing to 88 the number of bank failures in the U.S. this year.

The number of closures has fallen sharply this year as banks have worked their way through the bad debt accumulated in the recession. By this time last year, regulators had shuttered 146 banks.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized Community Bank of Rockmart, based in Rockmart, Ga.

The bank had about $62.4 million in assets and $55.9 million in deposits as of Sept. 30.

Century Bank of Georgia, based in Cartersville, Ga., agreed to assume all of Community Bank’s deposits and buy $40.7 million of the failed bank’s assets.

The failure of Community Bank of Rockmart is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $14.5 million.

The lender is the 23rd bank to fail in Georgia this year.

In all of 2010, regulators seized 157 banks, the most in any year since the savings and loan crisis two decades ago. Those failures cost around $23 billion. The FDIC has said 2010 likely was the high-water mark for bank failures from the Great Recession.

In 2009, there were 140 bank failures that cost the insurance fund about $36 billion, a higher price tag than in 2010 because the banks involved were bigger on average. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force; only three were closed in 2007.

From 2008 through 2010, bank failures cost the fund $76.8 billion. The FDIC expects failures from 2011 through 2015 to cost $19 billion.

The deposit insurance fund fell into the red in 2009. With failures slowing, the FDIC’s fund balance turned positive in the second quarter of this year; it stood at $3.9 billion as of June 30.