Monday, March 10, 2008

California housing bears, it's March 2008. How's your local bank these days?

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has plainly admitted that some small banks will fail this year, and already there are signs of strain. The FDIC is flagging banks as "troubled". We've been warned.

Years ago, Martin Weiss provided what I believed to be by far the best independent bank safety ratings. Most other rating agencies have historically been a day late and a dollar short, but not Weiss, he was out in front marking down financial institutions when he saw danger, at times standing up to nasty threats from the demoted institutions. I was heartbroken when Weiss Ratings was sold to Weiss grew up learning the business at his father Irving's knee, and has probably forgotten more about the banking industry than most of us will ever know. To me his name meant something on those ratings, whereas just doesn't have that impact.

I don't know if the staff of Martin Weiss advises TheStreet, but I'll assume for a moment they are still the same trustworthy reliable ratings.

You don't know how badly I soooo wanted to post a list of all the banks in California and their ratings. But I don't want to be accused of starting a bank run, so what I will do is post a list of the banks with A+, A, and A- ratings, and let you pursue this further if you don't like what you see. Note - I have better luck running the screener in Internet Explorer.

 America California Bank, San Francisco  A 
 American Security Bank, Santa Ana  A- 
 Bank of Stockton, Stockton  A- 
 Bank of The Sierra, Porterville  A- 
 Bank of Willits, Willits  A+ 
 California First National Bank, Irvine  A 
 California Pacific Bank, San Francisco  A 
 Chinatrust Bank USA, Torrance  A- 
 City National, Beverly Hills  A- 
 CommerceWest Bank , Newport Beach A- 
 Community Bank, Pasadena  A- 
 Community Bank, Santa Maria  A- 
 Community Bank, Stockton  A- 
 Delta National Bank, Manteca  A 
 Deutsche Bank Natl Trust Co, Los Angeles  A- 
 Downey Savings & Loan, Newport Beach  A- 
 El Dorado Savings Bank, Placerville  A- 
 Exchange Bank, Santa Rosa  A- 
 Farmers & Merchants Bank, Lodi  A- 
 Farmers & Merchants Bank, Long Beach  A+  
 First Commercial Bank, Alhambra  A- 
 First Federal, Santa Monica  A- 
 First Federal, San Rafael  A- 
 First Regional, Los Angeles  A- 
 First Security, Orange  A+ 
 Gilmore Bank, Los Angeles  A- 
 Greater Bay Bank, Palo Alto  A- 
 Heritage Bank, San Jose  A 
 International City Bank, Long Beach  A- 
 Los Angeles National, Buena Park  A- 
 Manufacturers Bank, Los Angeles  A- 
 Mechanics Bank, Richmond  A- 
 Merchants Bank, Carson  A- 
 Mission Oaks National, Temecula  A 
 Nara Bank, Los Angeles  A- 
 Oceanic Bank, San Francisco  A 
 Omni Bank, Alhambra  A- 
 Orange Community Bank, Orange  A- 
 Preferred Bank, Los Angeles  A- 
 Premier Valley Bank, Fresno  A- 
 River City Bank, Sacramento  A 
 San Luis Trust Bank, San Luis Obispo  A 
 Savings Bank, Ukiah  A 
 Silicon Valley Bank, Santa Clara  A 
 Stockmans Bank, Elk Grove  A 
 Summit Bank, Oakland  A- 
 TomatoBank, Los Angeles  A- 
 Valley Business Bank, Visalia  A- 
 Valley Community Bank, Pleasanton  A- 

Remember, just because a bank isn't an A bank doesn't mean that it is guaranteed to fail, and an A bank isn't guaranteed to remain an A bank. Although I have one "lifer" A+ bank, my other bank was A- for many years, and has now been B- for a while. I have to make a decision about moving money out of it.

Another service that provides bank ratings is Veribanc.


Blogger bearmaster said...

And for those of you with a little spare time on your hands, have you read The Subprime Primer?

6:47 PM, March 10, 2008  
Blogger bearmaster said...

Here's a list of the strongest and weakest banks and thrifts in the nation, current as of January 7, 2008.

7:32 PM, March 10, 2008  
Blogger bearmaster said...

This is from the recently filed annual report of a B- bank.

"The provision for credit losses was $11.0 million in 2007 compared with $2.0 million in 2006 and negative $500,000 in 2005. As a result of the strong growth in loans and increase in non-performing loans during 2007, the Bank recorded a $11.0 million provision for credit losses during 2007. Net charge-offs for 2007 were $6.6 million, or 0.11% of average loans, compared to net charge-offs of $715,000, or 0.01% of average loans, during 2006 and compared to net charge-offs of $2.1 million or 0.05% of average loans during 2005."

In other words, net charge-offs progressed from +$715,000 in 2006, to +$6.6 million in 2007.

Up by orders of magnitude in a few short years.

8:45 PM, March 10, 2008  

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