Banks in trouble highest since 1994


Troubled banks had the worst quarter since 1994, when the savings and loan debacle was coming to an end. The number of banks currently in trouble jumped to 252 from 171 the previous quarter. Even so, that represents just 3% of the 8,300 banks that make up the banking system in the U.S, so don't panic. Just to give you some perspective -- at the peak of the savings and loan crisis in 1989, 534 banks failed, and 1,900 financial institutions went under in total.

Getting on the FDIC's troubled list doesn't mean a bank will fail. It does mean the problem banks face financial difficulties or management problems that threaten their existence. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair told CNN, "There is no question that this is one of the most difficult periods we have encountered during the FDIC's 75 years of operation." Historically, only 13% of the banks that get on the list actually fail.