For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – November 17, 2009 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), Zions Bancorp (ZION), SunTrust Banks (STI) and PNC Financial (PNC).

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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

Bank Failures Rise to 123

The failed banks were — Century Bank, FSB of Sarasota, Florida with $728 million in assets and $631 million in deposits, Orion Bank of Naples, Florida with about $2.7 billion in assets and $2.1 billion in deposits and Pacific Coast National Bank of San Clemente, California with $134.4 million in assets and $130.9 million in deposits.

These bank failures represent another sizable impact on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) fund for protecting customer accounts, as it has been appointed receiver for these banks. The failure of Century Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund about $344 million, Orion Bank’s failure will cost about $615 million and the failure of Pacific Coast National Bank is expected to cost about $27.4 million.

The FDIC insures deposits at 8,195 institutions with roughly $13.5 trillion in assets. When a bank fails, it reimburses customers for deposits of up to $250,000 per account. The outbreak of bank failures has significantly stretched the regulator’s deposit insurance fund. At Jun 30, 2009, the fund corpus fell to $10.4 billion, the lowest since 1993, from $13.0 billion in the prior quarter.

IberiaBank, based in Lafayette, Louisiana will assume both Florida-based banks’ $2.731 billion in deposits. Iberiabank also entered into a loss-share agreement with the FDIC on $656 million of Century Bank’s assets and on $1.9 billion of Orion Bank’s assets.

Tustin, California-based Sunwest Bank will assume all of Pacific Coast National Bank’s deposits and essentially all of its assets.

In the second quarter of 2009, the number of banks on the FDIC’s list of problem institutions grew to 416 from 305 in the first quarter. This is the highest since the savings and loan crisis in 1994. 

Increasing loan losses on commercial real estate are expected to cause hundreds more bank failures in the next few years. The FDIC anticipates the bank failures to cost about $100 billion over the next four years.

In order to replenish the declining fund, the FDIC board recently mandated the U.S. banks to pay fees for three years in advance. Also, the regulators are considering requesting the healthy banks to bail out the government soon as it is necessary to replenish the deposit insurance fund, which has slipped to 0.22% of insured deposits, below the mandated minimum of 1.15%. The FDIC also has access to the Treasury Department credit line of up to $500 billion.

The failure of Washington Mutual last year was the largest in U.S. banking history. It was acquired by JPMorgan Chase (JPM). The other major acquirers of failed institutions since 2008 include Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), Zions Bancorp (ZION), SunTrust Banks (STI) and PNC Financial (PNC).

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