TNinety-eight US banks have failed this year

THREE more US banks have collapsed, pushing the total number of banking failures in the country so far this year to 98.<br /><br />An average of ten US banks have failed in every month of this year &ndash; the highest tally since 1992, when 181 banks went under.<br /><br />And the figure is nearly four times as high as 2008, when 25 banks collapsed, providing fresh evidence that the American economy is continuing to suffer. <br /><br />The three latest banking failures &ndash; Warren Bank, Jennings State Bank&nbsp; and Southern Colorado National Bank &ndash; are expected to cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation around $293m (&pound;183m). <br /><br />The FDIC insures customer accounts up to $250,000, but the hefty costs of providing compensation for customers at 98 failed banks has meant that its insurance fund has sunk to just $10.1bn from $45bn a year ago.<br /><br />FDIC chair Sheila Bair yesterday said that she wanted to end the &ldquo;too big to fail&rdquo; doctrine and shrink the shadow banking system that operates outside the reach of regulators.<br /><br />&ldquo;We need to end &lsquo;too big to fail&rsquo; and this needs to be an overarching policy that applies to everyone,&rdquo; Bair said.<br /><br />&ldquo;In a properly functioning economy, there will be winners and losers,&rdquo; she added, calling for an end to government bailouts. &ldquo;When firms are no longer viable they should fail.&rdquo; <br /><br />Bair added that a proposal to create a body with authority to shut down failing systemically important financial firms may need to be extended to insurers and hedge funds. <br /><br />According to FDIC, the number of troubled banks which are at risk of failing totalled 416 in the second quarter of 2009 as rising unemployment saw a jump in the number of customers defaulting.