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The 383 Safest Banks in America

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Friday, November 23, 2012 12:00 PM
By Sara Glakas
 

In America, we have let our guard down when it comes to our banking relationships. We assume that everything will be fine if our bank fails. After all, the FDIC insures our deposits up to $250,000. Why worry?

I hate to break this to you, but the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) — AKA the money used to cover bank failures — has been all but drained.

In 2007, the DIF had a healthy $52.4 billion. But since 2008 (after the housing meltdown), more than 413 banks have failed, and it’s taken a devastating toll on the once-solid reserve fund.

The balance in the DIF at the end of the second quarter of 2012 was just $22.7 billion, according to the FDIC — almost 57% below where it was before the financial crisis. And while the FDIC also reported that banks are on slightly better financial footing than last quarter, there are still a staggering 732 “problem banks” that are carrying troubled assets totaling $282 billion. By comparison, the FDIC identified just 76 problem banks by the end of 2007.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to assume that the FDIC will always be there to cover my savings. Instead, I want to pick the safest bank in my area, so that I know the FDIC will never have to get involved.

Each quarter, I use FDIC data to calculate a very special metric called the “Texas ratio.” It was developed by a financial wizard named Gerard Cassidy who used it to correctly predict bank failures in Texas during the 1980s recession, and again in New England in the recession of the early 1990s.

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