Weiss Ratings: Weiss Identifies Five Banks as "Weak" More Than One Year Prior to Failure

JUPITER, Florida (May 4, 2011) — On Friday, regulators closed five banks: Community Central Bank, Mount Clemens, Michigan; Park Avenue Bank, Valdosta, Georgia; First Choice Community Bank, Dallas, Georgia; Cortez Community Bank, Brooksville, Florida and First National Bank of Central Florida, Winter Park, Florida.  This brings the total number of U.S. bank and thrift failures to 39 for 2011. 

Thirty-seven of the 39 institutions, or 95%, that have failed in 2011 were rated E- by Weiss at the time of failure.  Weiss rates 487 more banks and thrifts “Very Weak” with a rating of E+, E, or E-.  Some of the nation’s largest institutions rated “Very Weak” include Central Pacific Bank in Honolulu, Hawaii (rated E), Ocean Bank in Miami, Florida (rated E), and  AnchorBank, Federal Savings Bank in Madison, Wisconsin (rated E-).  Consumers can view the full list at www.weissratings.com

Community Central Bank, Mount Clemens, Michigan, north of Detroit, with assets of $476.3 million at December 31, 2010 had been rated E- (“Very Weak”) for the last six quarters by Weiss Ratings and was first identified as “Weak” in March 2008.  It reported a loss of more than $2.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2010.  Community Central had well below-FDIC-mandated Tier 1 (5%) and risk-based capital (6%) ratios of 1.66% and 3.67%, respectively.  Nonperforming loans represented 10.75% of its loan portfolio.  Talmer Bank & Trust of Troy Michigan (formerly known as First Michigan Bank), with assets of over $1.69 billion and a Weiss Financial Strength Rating of B (“Good”) will assume the deposits of Community Central Bank. 

Park Avenue Bank, Valdosta, Georgia, located south of Macon, with assets of $953.3 million at December 31, 2010 had been rated E- (“Very Weak”) for the last five quarters by Weiss Ratings and was first identified as “Weak” in September 2008.  It reported a loss of more than $43.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2010.  Park Avenue had well below-FDIC-mandated tier 1 (5%) and risk-based capital (6%) ratios of 1.74% and 4.09%, respectively.  Nonperforming loans represented 19.3% of its loan portfolio.  Bank of the Ozarks located in Little Rock, Arkansas, with assets of over $3.1 billion and a Weiss Financial Strength Rating of A- (“Excellent”) will assume the deposits of Park Avenue Bank. 

First Choice Community Bank, Dallas, Georgia, located west of Atlanta, with assets of $308.4 million at December 31, 2010 had been rated E- (“Very Weak”) for the last four quarters by Weiss Ratings and was first identified as “Weak” in January 2009.  It reported a loss of more than $42.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2010.  First Choice Community had well below-FDIC-mandated tier 1 (5%) and risk-based capital (6%) ratios of -2.37% and -2.97%, respectively.  Nonperforming loans represented 30.3% of its loan portfolio.  Bank of the Ozarks located in Little Rock, Arkansas, with assets of over $3.1 billion and a Weiss Financial Strength Rating of A- (“Excellent”) will assume the deposits of First Choice Community Bank. 

Cortez Community Bank, Brooksville, Florida, located west of Orlando, with assets of $70.8 million at December 31, 2010 was rated E- (“Very Weak”) at the time of failure by Weiss Ratings and was first identified as “Weak” in January 2009.  It reported a loss of more than $9.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2010.  Cortez Community had below-FDIC-mandated tier 1 (5%) and risk-based capital (6%) ratios of 2.54% and 5.11%, respectively.  Nonperforming loans represented 30.7% of its loan portfolio, and charge-offs to average loans were 9.4%.  Premier American, NA, located in Miami, Florida, with assets of over $2.4 billion and a Weiss Financial Strength Rating of B+ (“Good”) will assume the deposits of Cortez Community Bank. 

First National Bank of Central Florida, Winter Park, Florida, located near Orlando, with assets of $352 million at December 31, 2010 had been rated “E-” (Very Weak”) for the last four quarters by Weiss Ratings and was first identified as “Weak” in March 2008.  It reported a loss of more than $31 million through December 31, 2010.  First National Bank had below-FDIC-mandated tier 1 (5%) and risk-based capital (6%) ratios of 1.41% and 3.25%, respectively.  Nonperforming loans represented 26.6% of its loan portfolio, and charge-offs to average loans were 5.9%.  Florida Community Bank, a division of Premier American Bank, NA located in Miami, Florida, with assets of over $2.4 billion and a Weiss Financial Strength Rating of B+ (“Good”) will assume the deposits of First National Bank of Central Florida. 

Weiss Ratings, the nation’s leading independent provider of bank, credit union and insurance company financial strength ratings and sovereign debt ratings, accepts no payments for its ratings from rated institutions.  It also distributes independent investment ratings on the shares of thousands of publicly traded companies, mutual funds, closed-end funds and ETFs.