List Of Sick Banks Rise To 17-Year High. Is Yours On It?

The number of banks on the FDIC’s “in danger of failing” list grew to 860 in July-September, a 17-year high. That number is up from 829 the previous quarter. The list is secret but even if your bank was on it, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to fail, only that it might. So what’s a good way to give your bank a checkup?

To check out your bank’s health, try Googling for its “Texas Ratio,” which is its bad assets and loans divided by its capital equity plus its loan loss reserve. A ratio of 100 or more is considered a “whoa there.” For a partial list, check out this one.

Bank ‘problem list’ swells but industry’s condition improving, FDIC says [LAT]


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  1. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    Somehow, someone will make this Obama’s fault.

    • c!tizen says:

      Really? I was going to blame the TSA.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:


      – – – –

      How’s that?

    • costanza007 says:

      How about we just use the phrase Bush-era something-or-other and everyone will still feel good that it will somehow solve this problem too!

    • Trick says:

      How can it be Obama’s fault when it is clearly Bush’s fault. All problems pretty much going back to the original tea-bagger’s can be traced to Bush.

    • ARP says:

      I know this was snark, but the problem is that there’s no one particular source. But hat won’t stop people from trying to fit it on a bumper sticker.

      1) Fed didn’t collect FDIC dues.
      2) Banks over-leveraged themselves w/ mortgages, securities, etc.
      3) People bought “too much house”
      4) Banks lent to anyone with a pulse
      5) Previous administration deregulated, didn’t enforce, etc.
      6) Current administration afraid to get tough.
      7) Fed offered “free money” in the form of
      8) Sky high bonuses for executives, which only encouraged risky behavior.
      9) Almost no TARP rules under Bush, limited TARP rules under Obama. I imagine some of these banks didn’t even get TARP money.
      10) Republicans wanted to gut Fannie/Freddie, Democratic dug their heels in and prevented ANY changes (even when needed).
      11) Banks were allowed to get too big to fail (and still can be). They often loaned to smaller banks, creating domino effect, potentially in either direction.

  2. sunnypies says:

    Somehow, someone will try to tie this to Obama by saying “someone will make this Obama’s fault”.

    • sunnypies says:

      On a sincere note, I think the banks should fail to teach them a lesson. I learned my lesson from failing financially.

      • areaman says:

        I agree that banks should fail. I don’t think it will teach people who run the banks a lesson though.

        Warren Buffet said something like, “The carrot is $500 million and the stick is $50 million” there’s no disincentive to play with the share holder equity.

        Also people like the Kerry Kiplinger (CEO of Washington Mutual) claim to not know what was going on or why their bank failed.

      • Daemon Xar says:

        That easy to say if you don’t understand the interlacing consequences of letting one of the titans fail.

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    If I’m correct, I think ranks local banks, not local branches of national ones. So if you bank with a big national bank (like BofA) you probably won’t be able to assess your branch’s status through that list.

  4. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    “The list is secret but even if your bank was on it, “….

    So, can anyone explain why this list is secret, how it is kept secret, and why a freedom of information act request couldn’t free the information?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I imagine it’s kept secret to prevent people from panicking and taking all of their money out, which would probably hasten or ensure the bank’s failure – not every bank on the “sick list” is going to fail.

    • thor79 says:

      Shouldn’t it be obvious…they don’t want to cause the banks to fail because their name gets out resulting in a run on the bank.

      I think if there’s a way out for the bank, then they should continue to keep it secret. If however there is no way out and the failure of the bank is inevitable, it should absolutely be made public and it should be a first come first serve run on the bank until it fails. Get the bank out of the system and let people move on with their lives or try to recover their lives without being tied to a sinking ship.

      • Daemon Xar says:

        Except that we’re all on the hook for their FDIC-insured deposits (the first $250,000 on all accounts, and the full amount on demand deposit accounts, plus some particular kinds of public deposits), and it’s impossible to determine whether or not a bank has a way out.

        Banks get saved by infusions of new capital, sometimes at the very last minute. Making this information public because it looks like a bank is going down is a sure way to make it fail and prevent a last minute investment that could save jobs and deposits.

    • MonkeyMonk says:

      It’s kept secret because if the names of the banks was made public then there would be a run on the (mostly fully-insured) deposits of said banks thus driving them closer to failure. It would be a self-fulfilling prophecy as their mere presence on the list could cause their demise. I think all of us would prefer that the banks recover.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      But what is the LEGAL reason – HOW are they keeping this information “secret”? Unless the FDIC can cite “national security” as a reason, it is a US government entity and we as US citizens should have access to that information.

    • grapedog says:

      Currently, this information is being fought for. There was a journalist from the NYTimes i believe, who passed away, but one of the last things he was working on was getting this information. Gubmint trying to keep it under wraps though so they can continue to keep these failing banks afloat until housing prices rise. It’s currently in the court system last I heard…

    • Daemon Xar says:

      Read FOIA. Or google it. Or just go here:

  5. ellmar says:

    The list “rises”…

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Remember, your money is insured, so don’t go “It’s a Wonderful Life” on your bank. You’ll just create a self-fulfilled prophecy.

    • john says:

      My bank is on the list and is apparently doing horribly. Why make the taxpayers foot the bill for my accounts? They will have to cover some accounts eventually, but if I can limit the loss to the taxpayers, I will. These bad banks won’t be getting better; they will continue to hemorrhage money until they are taken over by the government.

      • Daemon Xar says:

        And what exactly are you basing that assertion on?

        There are a number of banks that prove exactly the opposite. Some banks that have been on the problem list have gotten an infusion of new capital despite the fact that they were struggling/at risk. The fact that some banks go down doesn’t mean that all troubled banks are beyond saving. And starting a run on a bank guarentees that it dies and does so in the most expensive and painful way possible.

        • john says:

          My bank is no. 5 on the worst list, and I should have known since there customer service has gone to the dogs. When employee morale goes down in a situation like this, it is time to put the bank on life support or pull the plug.

  7. Consumeristing says:

    For this to be even Obama’s fault, one has to believe that he’s responsible for anything that happens in his administration. That’s a bridge too far.

  8. Burzmali says:

    Mine scores 2 out of 5 for health. The deposit health is 5 out of 5, though, which seems like a pretty good stat.

  9. bikeoid says:

    I was just about to migrate from my giant evil bailout bank to a local community bank which took no bailout money. Now I see that it has a terrible Texas ratio, so I’ve revised my shopping list before I migrate.

  10. Nighthawke says:

    The bank I’m currently in has a solid rating, but does not have an checking with interest account available. I need to shop elsewhere for one.

  11. zappo says:

    USAA seems to have two entries, “USAA Bank” in Texas is 4/5, while USAA Savings Bank” in Nevada is 5/5. Is the checking account part of the bank a separate entity from the savings account part? Anyone have a clue?

  12. FrankReality says:

    A couple of sources for your information:

    This link is a list of Unofficial problem banks as of 11/19/2010. If you go to, it is updated and appears every Saturday. The list comes from press releases and published FDIC actions. Note that the FDIC delay at least 30 days in announcing enforcement actions.

    What’s also interesting about the list is it usually provides a link to the FDIC actions which the bank is subject to.

    The second source is here:

    You can search for enforcement actions taken by the FDIC versus banks and can review the actual orders.

    Here’s an example:

  13. maynurd says:

    Let the flipping banks fail.
    They made their own mess with their lax lending practices and greed for profits. Now let them reap in the results of their own actions.
    We already bailed them out once….

  14. JANSCHOLL says:

    My credit union is not listed on the site as even existing. Shouldn’t it be listed there for something? Its been around since 1955. I have been looking for another place to park my cash however as the rate of return goes down and down even as I save more and more. 2 years ago, I was getting 3-4 %. Now I get .5 or less. And they changed the levels for getting anything of note until you have 150 grand in the bank. So how much will I get to keep of my retirement savings after I pay taxes on the interest? Pretty much nothing.

  15. jedifarfy says:

    My new bank has an overall score of 4/5, Texas ratio of 15.48%. I’m much happier than I was at BofA.