The latest US banking data from the FDIC was published today. The number of failed financial institutions in 2009, 140, was the highest since 1992. These failures affected some US$170bn in assets.

Moreover, the number of “problem” institutions, a precarious state that the FDIC assigns to lenders with “financial, operational, or managerial weaknesses that threaten their continued financial viability,” nearly tripled in 2009, to 702. That means that one bank fails for every five that fall into “problem” status, a frequency of failure not seen since 1990.