On June 3rd, Atlantic Bank and Trust of Charleston, South Carolina became the 45th bank in the US to fail this year. After a brief period in receivership under the control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the lender’s assets—worth US$208m—were transferred to First Citizens Bank and Trust.

This is not an unusual occurrence: 367 banks have failed since 2008. But the pace of failures so far this year is slower than in 2010. And only five banks failed in May, which some see as an “encouraging milestone”. Recall, however, that three banks failed in March, promptly followed by 13 in April, the highest monthly tally since last spring.

More encouraging is that the size of failed banks so far this year is significantly smaller than last year—an average of US$430m in assets per bank through May this year, versus US$867m over the same period in 2010.