Writings and observations

A lot of banks

The state of George has gotten some attention for being the home of a bunch of banks that have failed. But Washington state seems to be catching up.

Frontier Bank of Everett is gone now, absorbed – via regulatory action – by Union Bank of San Francisco. (How much more concentrated will banking be at the end of all this?)

But the list is getting long. On April 16 City Bank was closed. On february 26, Umpqua Bank (of Oregon) bought out Rainier Pacific Savings Bank. On January 29, Columbia State Bank bought American Marine Bank. One week before that, Umpqua bought Evergreen Bank. Two weeks before that, Washington Federal bought Horizon Bank. And of course there have been many more, back to and beyond the mega-failure of Washington Mutual.

The numbers, even allowing for the larger size of state and larger overall numbers of banks, are larger than in Oregon or Idaho. Has there been something more deeply wrong in Washington banking? Is it going to continue for a while: Are we anywhere near done with the closures?

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