Thursday, March 19, 2009

How healthy are your local banks? Web site tells

We have reported here that small-town and community banks have fared better in the economic downturn than many of the countries larger banks. A new Web site, designed by Wendell Cochran of American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop, allows the public to measure the strength or weakness of individual banks. The site uses Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data to compare a bank's "troubled asset" ratio to the national median and other banks, as well as assets, loans, deposits, loan-loss prevention and other criteria used to judge the strength of a bank.

"The unprecedented bet that many banks made on mortgages, real estate development and other real estate-related lending during the middle part of this decade has produced a payoff no one imagined just a few years ago -- a huge increase in loan defaults, a soaring number of foreclosures and a plunge in bank profits," writes Cochran. "And now, an analysis of bank financial statements by the Investigative Reporting Workshop and sheds new light on just how dangerous conditions have become in many banks across the nation."

The site provides data for 2007 and 2008, a period that saw a dramatic increase in troubled assets for many banks. Our search of several smaller banks showed dramatically fewer troubled assets and fewer loans past due. A search of banks that have decided to return TARP money shows that there was not a dramatic rise in troubled assets, perhaps indicating little or no need for federal assistance.

1 comment:

Rick card said...

It's a great search here. Through this article I can now view some details on my local banks. If I should invest or not and some idea if they are subject for closure or not. Thanks again for your advice.