Three more bank closings bring this year's tally to 84

Regulators shut down three more banks late yesterday, bringing this year's total number of failed banks to 84.

The closures included Affinity Bank, of Ventura, CA, Bradford Bank in Baltimore, and Mainstreet Bank in Minnesota, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC found other banks to assume the deposits of each of the three.

Customers will still be able to access their money over the weekend. The FDIC will share the losses with the new acquirers. It is not clear what those amounts will eventually be, but the figure will probably be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

There is a debate going on about how many banks will eventually fail this year due to the credit crisis and recession. Several bank analysts, including Meredith Whitney, have put the number in the hundreds.

Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC, has taken a more optimistic approach. Although the agency has over 400 banks on its troubled bank "watch list" Bair indicated in statements last week that she was not ready to go to the Treasury to get more funds for her agency. Its assets have dropped to $10.4 billion.

Nouriel Roubini told Barron's over a year ago that close to 1,200 American banks would fail due to the crisis. His figure was much too high. Now, it is beginning to look like many other dire predictions may be as well.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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