Friday, April 30, 2010

Failed Banks Had $566.9Bln of Assets, FDIC Has $33Bln Left

MONDAY, 26 APRIL 2010

Orest Mandzy

Commercial Real Estate Direct Staff Report

The FDIC, which since the beginning of 2008 has taken over 205 failed banks with $566.9 billion of total assets, has only about $37 billion of those assets left to sell.

And roughly $4.2 billion of those assets are in the process of being brought to market through the agency's structured sales, where it partners with investors on large acquisitions and provides them with financing. Factor those out and the FDIC is left with about $33 billion of assets left to sell.

Interestingly, that's roughly the same volume of assets the agency had left to sell six months ago, after it had taken over 118 failed banks with $476.4 billion of assets. That indicates that its sales efforts are accelerating. And the expectation is that they'll continue to accelerate, especially because so many other institutions have issues. Indeed, 702 banks with $402.8 billion of assets were formally tagged as "problem" institutions by the FDIC at the end of last year. Those are the highest levels since 1993 and are up from 552 banks with $345.9 billion at the end of the third quarter.

And, according to Trepp, a common thread among problem banks is their relative exposure to commercial real estate.

The agency is expected to continue relying on its structured offerings to dispose of the lion's share of assets it takes over because of their relative efficiency. It's able to sell $1 billion or more of assets in one fell swoop, while retaining a stake, which could allow it to benefit if asset values climb. It has also offered financing and has been able to sell that into the market.

In addition, the agency will continue to sell assets individually through its whole-loan, or cash sales, which are handled by five advisers. It had until early this year sold commercial real estate assets on a whole-loan basis, but has since then shifted its focus to sell such assets solely through its structured packages.

And while the agency has yet to securitize assets taken from failed banks, that's expected to change. Sheila Bair, FDIC chairman, said earlier this year that "securitization will play an increasing role" in the agency's efforts to rid itself of assets from failed banks.

The reason the agency has relatively little left to sell is that buyers of deposits of failed banks have generally acquired most of their assets, largely because of the backstop against losses that the agency provides.

Until recently, the FDIC would insure up to 80 percent of any losses from failed-bank assets subject to the loss-sharing agreements. In some cases, its insurance would climb to 95 percent. But lately, it has sought to reduce the scope of its backstop. And because market conditions have improved, evidently it's been able to do just that.

When TD Bank agreed to acquire three failed banks, American First Bank of Clermont, Fla., First Federal Bank of North Florida, Palatka, Fla., and Riverside National Bank of Florida of Fort Pierce, Fla., it agreed to assume $2.2 billion of the institutions' assets. And the FDIC agreed to cover only 50 percent of the possible losses from those assets.

The $566.9 billion of assets held by banks that failed since the beginning of 2008 compares with $519 billion of assets held by the 1,043 savings and loans that failed during the S&L crisis of the early 1990s. While that volume is not adjusted for inflation, it puts the current banking issue in context. It also shows just how large some failed banks have been.

Indeed, this time around, a $307 billion-asset institution - Washington Mutual Bank - failed. No similar-sized institution failed during the last crisis. Another seven institutions had more than $10 billion of assets each.

If you exclude WaMu, the 205 banks that have failed had an average of $1.3 billion of assets. But the top 25, exclusive of WaMu, had an average of $7.5 billion of assets.