Monday Morning Cup of Coffee

[Update 1: Adds ebank closure] A look at the stories on HousingWire’s weekend desk…with more coverage to come on bigger issues: Regulators shut down four banks Friday, bringing the total number of banks shut down in 2009 to 81. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) estimates the latest closing will cost more nearly $3.5bn. The Office of Thrift Supervision shut down Austin, Texas-based Guaranty Bank, at a cost of $3bn to the FDIC insurance fund. Birmingham-based BBVA Compass(BBV), which is owned by the second largest bank in Spain, will take over Guaranty’s 103 branches in Texas and 59 branches in California. The Alabama State Banking Department closed the Birmingham, Ala.-based CapitalSouth Bank at a cost of $151m to the FDIC insurance fund. Lafayette, La.-based IBERIABANK (IBKC) will assume all but $3.6m of CapitalSouth’s $546 million in deposits and $589m of $617m of its assets. The 10 CapitalSouth branches will reopen as IBERIABANK locations today. The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance closed Newnan, Ga.-based First Coweta Bank at a cost of $48m to the FDIC insurance fund. Zebulon, Ga.-based United Bank will pay the FDIC a premium of 1.01% to assume all of First Coweta’s deposits and will purchase $155m of $167m of the failed bank’s assets. United will reopen the four First Coweta branches as United locations. The Office of Thrift Supervision closed the Atlanta-based ebank, at a cost of $63m. St. Cloud, Minn.-based Stearns Bank, National Association will assume all of ebank’s $130m in deposits and $111m of $143m in assets and will reopen the one ebank branch as a Stearns Bank location. The US banking industry continues to face challenges, according to Institutional Risk Analytics’ (IRA) preliminary Bank Stress Index for Q209. The IRA Bank Stress Index continues to climb and was 6.87 in Q209, up 23% from Q109’s index of 5.57. The rate of change is lower than it was between Q408 and Q109, but remains at record levels. The stress index is calculated using FDIC data. An index of 1 represents the level of bank stress in 1995. The foreclosure crisis isn’t just hurting people’s pocketbooks; it’s also affecting their health. Nearly half of the distressed homeowners in a University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study reported symptoms of depression and 37% met screening criteria for major depression. The research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, also showed many distressed homeowners can’t afford prescription drugs and are skipping meals. “The foreclosure crisis is also a health crisis,” lead author Craig E. Pollack said in a statement. “We need to do more to ensure that if people lose their homes, they don’t also lose their health.” The study was based on 250 distressed homeowners in the Philadelphia area. The owners of an upscale Minnesota shopping center that opened four years ago defaulted on $78.5m in debt and a sheriff’s sale will be held on Oct. 1. The Woodbury Lakes mall, in Woodbury, east of St. Paul, has seen a number of tenants vacate the property, including Linens n’ Things, Boston’s Restaurant, Salsarita’s, Z Gallerie and Starbucks, reported. When it opened, Woodbury Lakes mall was billed a “lifestyle center” with more pedestrian space and upscale shops than a typical mall. It was seen as an alternative to the Twin Cities’ larger tourist-driven Mall of America. The mall’s foreclosure comes as consumers continue to curb spending, creating increased stressed on the commercial real estate market. California’s unemployment rate is 11.9%, the highest ever in the state, according to the US Labor Department. The department reported 87,000 Californians lost their jobs in July, increasing the unemployment rate from 11.6% in June. Last year, Californian unemployment was 7.3%. As HousingWire has previously reported, there is evidence to suggest a link between unemployment and housing prices that could hurt California’s housing recovery further. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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