July 31, 2014

The Money Issue - Banking Outlook

Disappearing Act for Some Florida Banks

Florida's going to lose at least another 70 banks

Mike Vogel | 10/1/2012

Casualty Count: Bank Failures by Region

Bank failures in Florida in large measure reflect population distribution in the state. Thirteen banks failed in three counties in south Florida since 2008. But many failures occurred in parts of the state not known for financial chicanery and overheated real estate markets. The much smaller north Florida market, from Pensacola to Palatka in Putnam County, had just as many failures as south Florida. Of the five biggest bank failures in Florida, only one — though by far the biggest — was in south Florida.

Case in point: Historically, Jacksonville was the most resilient of Florida’s banking markets, thanks in part to a steady economy that didn’t get swept up in the state’s wild real estate booms. But as national home builders discovered the region in the most recent run-up, a considerable number of new banks followed. “They were speculative in nature, and Jacksonville had more than its share,” says Ben Bishop Jr., chairman at Allen C. Ewing & Co., a Jacksonville firm that provides corporate finance services to community banks around the
state.

As a result, northeast Florida’s community banks have been hard hit recently. “And we’re probably going to lose two to three more,” Bishop says. The casualties have included some longtime, formerly conservative players, such as First Guaranty Bank and Trust, Jacksonville’s oldest bank, which was shuttered in January by state officials.

Florida’s Five Biggest Bank Failures (Since 2007)

Bank Headquarters Estimated Loss to FDIC
BankUnited Coral Gables $5.8 billion
Orion Bank Naples $883 million
Riverside National Fort Pierce $606 million
Peoples First Panama City $515 million
Florida Community Immokalee $331 million
Note: Both BankUnited and Florida Community have reopened under new ownership.

Widespread

All regions of Florida were affected by bank failures over the past four years, including counties not known for getting caught up in the housing bubble.

Tags: Banking & Finance, The Money Issue

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