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updated: 8/9/2013 6:44 PM

Regulators shutter small bank in Wisconsin

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Regulators have closed a small bank in Wisconsin, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures to 18 this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday that it has taken over Bank of Wausau, based in Wausau, Wis.

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The lender, which operated a single bank branch, had about $43.6 million in assets and $40.7 million in deposits as of June 30.

Nicolet National Bank, based in Green Bay, Wis., agreed to assume all of the failed bank's deposits and to buy roughly $29.9 million of its assets.

The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.

The failure of Bank of Wausau is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $13.5 million.

Bank of Wausau is the second FDIC-insured lender in Wisconsin to fail this year. In May, the FDIC shuttered Banks of Wisconsin, based in Kenosha, Wis.

U.S. bank failures have been declining since they peaked in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

In 2007, only three banks went under. That number jumped to 25 in 2008, after the financial meltdown, and ballooned to 140 in 2009.

In 2010, regulators seized 157 banks, the most in any year since the savings and loan crisis two decades ago. The FDIC has said 2010 likely was the high-water mark for bank failures from the recession. They declined to a total of 92 in 2011.

Last year, bank failures slowed to 51 -- still more than normal. In a strong economy, an average of four or five banks close annually.

The sharply reduced pace of bank closings shows sustained improvement.

From 2008 through 2011, bank failures cost the deposit insurance fund an estimated $88 billion, and the fund fell into the red in 2009. With failures slowing, the fund's balance turned positive in the second quarter of 2011.

The fund had a $35.7 billion balance as of March 31, up from $32.9 billion at the end of December.

The FDIC expects bank failures from 2012 through 2016 will cost the fund $10 billion.

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