Silver State Bank in Nevada is Shut

September 8, 2008

Regulators shut down Silver State Bank, saying the Nevada bank failed because of losses on soured loans, mainly in commercial real estate and land development. It was the 11th failure this year of a federally insured bank in the U.S.

Nevada regulators closed Silver State and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of the bank, based in Henderson, Nevada. It had $2 billion in assets and $1.7 billion in deposits as of June 30.

Andrew K. McCain, a son of Republican presidential nominee John McCain, sat on the boards of Silver State Bank and of its parent, Silver State Bancorp, starting in February but resigned in July citing “personal reasons,” corporate filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show. Andrew McCain also was a member of the bank’s audit committee, responsible for oversight of the company’s accounting.

The younger McCain, who is the chief financial officer of Hensley & Co., the beer distributorship of which Cindy McCain is chairwoman, is the Arizona senator’s adopted son from his first marriage.

Andrew McCain’s position on the Silver State board and departure were first reported Friday by The Wall Street Journal online.

Silver State Bank ran into difficulty because of a substantial amount of “poor-quality loans primarily related to real estate development” in southern Nevada and other distressed markets, FDIC spokesman David Barr said Friday.

“When the housing market slowed down, people who bought raw land to build new homes didn’t need that land so they couldn’t do anything with it and repay their loans. So those loans went bad,” Barr said.

Silver State Bancorp recently reported a net loss for the second quarter of $73.2 million, or $4.84 a share, compared with net profit of $6.2 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Construction and development loans have been the fastest-growing category of troubled loans for U.S. banks, and many banks have heavy concentrations of them in their lending portfolios, according to the FDIC. Some small banks are considered especially vulnerable. Delinquent loan payments and defaults by commercial and residential developers have surged to the highest levels since the early 1990s — the latter part of the savings and loan crisis.

The FDIC said Silver State Bank’s insured deposits will be assumed by Nevada State Bank of Las Vegas. Its branches will reopen Monday as offices of Nevada State Bank in Nevada and National Bank of Arizona in Arizona.

The agency said depositors of Silver State Bank will continue to have full access to their deposits.

The 11 failures so far this year compare with three for all of 2007, and federal banking officials have said that more banks are in danger of collapse.

Silver State Bank has operated 13 branches in the greater Las Vegas area and four in the greater Phoenix-Scottsdale area of Arizona as well as loan offices in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California and Florida.

The FDIC estimated its resolution will cost the deposit insurance fund between $450 million and $550 million.

Regular deposit accounts are insured up to $100,000.

There were about $20 million in uninsured deposits held in roughly 500 accounts at Silver State that potentially exceeded the insurance limit, the FDIC said.

Concern has been growing over the solvency of some banks amid the housing slump and the steep slide in the mortgage market. The pressures of tighter credit, tumbling home prices and rising foreclosures have been battering many banks, large and small, across the nation.

The largest bank failure by far this year has been that of savings and loan IndyMac Bank, which was seized by regulators on July 11 with about $32 billion in assets and deposits of $19 billion.

The seizure of Pasadena, California-based IndyMac, which was the largest regulated thrift to fail in the United States, prompted hundreds of angry customers to line up for hours in Southern California to demand their money. IndyMac also was the second-largest financial institution to close in U.S. history, after Continental Illinois National Bank in 1984.

The FDIC has been operating the bank, now called IndyMac Federal Bank, under a conservatorship.

The FDIC plans to raise insurance premiums paid by banks and thrifts to replenish its reserve fund after paying out billions of dollars to depositors at IndyMac. The fund, currently at $45 billion, is expected to take a hit from IndyMac of $4 billion to $8 billion.

Federal officials expect turbulence in the banking industry to continue well into next year, and more banks to appear on the FDIC’s internal list of troubled institutions.

Of the 8,500 or so FDIC-insured banks in the country, 117 were considered to be in trouble in the second quarter — the highest level in about five years and up from 90 in the first quarter. The agency doesn’t disclose the banks’ names.

Only 13 percent of banks that make the list fail, on average, and most are nursed back to health or acquired by stronger institutions, according to the FDIC.

Federally insured banks and thrifts set aside a record $50.2 billion to cover losses from soured mortgages and other loans in the April-June quarter, when profits plunged 86 percent from a year earlier.

Silver State Bank customers with accounts exceeding $100,000 can contact the FDIC at 1-800-523-8177 to set up an appointment to discuss their deposits.

Associated Press writer Brendan Riley in Carson City, Nevada, contributed to this report.

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