Growing numbers of Flordia banks have been forced to carry an increasing number of mortgage loans that are way past due or in default. Some banks, such as Fort Lauderdale's BankAtlantic, have seen losses continue to accumulate on bottom lines this year. BankAtlantic has added more reserves for bad loans.
Coral Gables-based BankUnited, Florida's largest regional bank, was ordered by regulators to raise $400 million in new capital. It is doing so by selling stock. The bank's mortgage portfolio has continued to deteriorate and it boosted reserves for bad loans by $130 million in the second quarter. That contributed to a loss of more than $117 million on its bottom line.
Miami's Ocean Bank, the largest independent state-chartered commercial bank in Florida, cut 104 employees as losses from its loans continued to mount. At the end of the second quarter, 10.5 percent of its assets are nonperforming -- that includes past-due loans and repossessed real estate. That's a number analysts watch closely. The norm should be about 1 percent. The bank lost $63.5 million in 2007.
Yet, Ken Thomas, a Miami bank analyst who has watched the banking industry go through several boom-and-bust cycles in the past 20 years, believes local banks today remain better capitalized than they were in the late 1980s and early '90s, when the nation's thrift industry imploded -- led by Miami-based CenTrust.
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