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Bank Failure Friday

Where is Martin Scorsese when you need him?

The FDIC reports tonight that Cape Fear Bank of Wilmington, North Carolina, has failed. First Federal Savings and Loan of Charleston, South Carolina, assumed the bank's deposits. Those who have money in Cape Fear shouldn't notice much of a change. On Monday, Cape Fear's eight offices will reopen as branches of First Federal.

Cape Fear's failure represents a $131 million ding to the FDIC's federal deposit insurance fund, bringing taxpayers one baby-step closer to a bailout of the fund. The FDIC's fund was at a paltry $18.9 billion to start the year,

the lowest level in nearly a quarter-century. This is the 22nd bank to fail in 2009, according to the FDIC's failed bank list. In all of 2008, 25 banks failed. And in 2007, just three banks went down. The most banks that have failed in any single evening this year has been four but banking analysts expect that there are many more failures to come.

The FDIC likes to close failed banks on Friday evenings to avoid panicked depositers storming the bank's lobby trying to get their deposits out. Usually the announcements for East Coast banks begin around 5:30 p.m. (EST) followed by West Coast banks around 9 p.m. (EST)

The AP is reporting that this is the first bank failure in North Carolina since 1993.

Update: Later Friday night, the FDIC announced the closure of New Frontier Bank in Greeley, Colorado. The bank's history of crappy loans had helped earn it a cease-and-desist order from the FDIC in December, and it had been looking for a buyer, according to the Greeley Tribune. New Frontier Bank's closure cost the FDIC's deposit insurance fund an estimated $670 million. A "material loss" of an FDIC-regulated bank automatically triggers an investigation by the agency's inspector general into what happened and why the FDIC was unable to prevent the failure.

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