Friday, September 30, 2011

This Week in Bank Failures

The trend toward higher fees for banking services could be economically beneficial if as a result, customers move their accounts to the banks that have lower cost of operations and banks look for ways to lower their operating costs. It is one of the curiosities of the U.S. and European banking systems that more than half of banking customers do business with the banks that have the highest transaction processing costs. That is a situation that banks have had little incentive to correct for the past half century, but those changes may be on the way as customers balk at some of the new fees and switch to less expensive forms of banking.

There was a bank failure in Texas tonight: First International Bank, with $209 million in deposits and 7 locations, based in Plano. Deposits are being transferred to and assets are being purchased by Houston-based American First National Bank.

The failed bank was itself the successor to a failed bank, formed in 1991 to purchase the assets of the failed First National Bank of Bedford. It had sought to grow aggressively starting around 2005. This strategy proved as disastrous here as elsewhere, though the scale of the resulting financial problems didn’t become obvious until late in 2009.