Regulators close banks in Ga., Fla., Ark., Minn.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators have shut down three small banks in Georgia and one in Florida, bringing the number of U.S. banks that have failed this year to 155 amid mounting soured loans and economic distress.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the three Georgia banks: Appalachian Community Bank of McCaysville, with $68.2 million in assets; Chestatee State Bank, based in Dawsonville, with $244.4 million in assets; and Atlanta-based United Americas Bank, with $242.3 million in assets.

The FDIC also seized Bank of Miami, based in Coral Gables, Fla., with $448.2 million in assets.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators on Friday shut down two small banks in Georgia and one in Florida, bringing the number of U.S. banks that have failed this year to 154 amid mounting soured loans and economic distress.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Appalachian Community Bank of McCaysville, Ga., with $68.2 million in assets; Chestatee State Bank, based in Dawsonville, Ga., with $244.4 million in assets; and Bank of Miami, based in Coral Gables, Fla., with $448.2 million in assets.

Peoples Bank of East Tennessee, based in Madisonville, Tenn., agreed to assume $67.5 million of the assets and most of the deposits of Appalachian Community Bank. Bank of the Ozarks, based in Little Rock, Ark., is assuming all the assets and deposits of Chestatee State Bank. First United Bank, based in Boca Raton, Fla., is assuming $442.3 million of the assets and all the deposits of Bank of Miami.

In addition, the FDIC and Peoples Bank of East Tennessee agreed to share losses on $46.4 million of Appalachian Community Bank’s loans and other assets. The FDIC and Bank of the Ozarks are sharing losses on $195.3 million of Chestatee State Bank’s assets. The agency and 1st United Bank are sharing losses on $313.5 million of Bank of Miami’s assets.

The failure of Appalachian Community Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $26 million. That of Chestatee State Bank is expected to cost the fund $75.3 million; that of Bank of Miami, $64 million.

The 154 closures nationwide so far this year tops the 140 shuttered in all of 2009 and is the most in a year since the savings-and-loan crisis two decades ago.

The 2009 failures cost the insurance fund about $36 billion; the failures so far this year have cost around $21 billion, less because the banks failing in 2010 have on average been smaller. 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 $8 billion as of Sept. 30.

The number of banks on the FDIC’s confidential “problem” list jumped to 860 in the third quarter from 829 three months earlier, even as the industry as a whole made $14.5 billion in net income. The 860 troubled banks is the highest number since 1993, during the savings-and-loan crisis.

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.

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