Saturday, February 27, 2010

Growth of Problem Banks (Unofficial)

by Bill McBride on 2/27/2010 11:49:00 AM

By request here is a graph of the number of banks on the unofficial problem bank list.

We started posting the Unofficial Problem Bank list in early August 2009 (credit: surferdude808). The FDIC's official problem bank list is comprised of banks with a CAMELS rating of 4 or 5, and the list is not made public (just the number of banks and assets every quarter). Note: Bank CAMELS ratings are not made public.

CAMELS is the FDIC rating system, and stands for Capital adequacy, Asset quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to market risk. The scale is from 1 to 5, with 1 being the strongest.

As a substitute for the CAMELS ratings, surferdude808 is using publicly announced formal enforcement actions, and also media reports and company announcements that suggest to us an enforcement action is likely, to compile a list of possible problem banks in the public interest. Some of this data is released with a lag, for example the FDIC announced the January enforcement actions yesterday.

Problem Banks Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the number of banks on the unofficial list. The number has grown by almost 66% since early August 2009 - even with all the bank failures last year (failures are removed from the list).

The three red dots are the number of banks on the official problem bank list as announced in the FDIC quarterly banking profile for Q2, Q3, and Q4. The dots are lagged one month because of the delay in announcing formal actions.

The unofficial count is close, but is slightly lower than the official count - probably mostly due to timing issues. There is a reasonable chance that the problem bank list will be over 1,000 banks later this year ...