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BankTracker
June 13, 2009 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Curious about the health of your bank? You might find BankTracker helpful. This site crunches the FDIC's publicly available numbers on banks' deposits, loans, and nonperforming loans, and makes them available in a search interface for banks and credit unions.

Also interesting are the blog posts. From one of the most recent:

Total troubled assets – the sum of loans more than 90 days past due and the value of foreclosed property banks on bank books – increased to $285 billion at the end of March, up from $237 billion at the end of 2008. At the end of March 2008, the banks only had $137 billion in nonperforming loans and foreclosed property on their books.

The combination of lower profits and more bad loans meant that more banks saw their capital under growing stress. As of March 31, 238 banks had more troubled assets on their books than they had in capital and loan loss reserves. At the end of December 2008, 165 banks had a “troubled asset ratio” of greater than 100 percent. Only 44 banks fell into that category a year ago.
posted by A dead Quaker (15 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I should warn that I only found this site today, when I was Googling for my bank's name plus "percentage nonperforming loans". The first hit was a link to this site's page for that bank. But as far as I can tell, BankTracker is legit.

I should also say that I'm not by any means an expert on the banking industry, but also as far as I can tell, their methodology seems reasonable.

Lastly, I find it interesting that Goldman Sachs apparently has no troubled assets.
posted by A dead Quaker at 2:12 PM on June 13, 2009


The layout is all messed up in Safari 4.
posted by Tacodog at 2:23 PM on June 13, 2009


And in Chrome... but widening the window seems to help.
posted by Huck500 at 2:27 PM on June 13, 2009


Curious about the health of your bank?

Not really, I make sure to keep my deposits under the FDIC limits and don't worry about it. I've been through two bank failures this year and it was even less of a hassle than I expected.
posted by grouse at 2:33 PM on June 13, 2009


The layout is all messed up in Safari 4.

Yeah, I know, it's crap in FF3 on Ubuntu...also. My feeling was that the content outweighed the presentation.
posted by A dead Quaker at 2:35 PM on June 13, 2009


Lastly, I find it interesting that Goldman Sachs apparently has no troubled assets.

That's because in the grand tradition of this place you posted a link about something you don't understand. The reason why Goldman has no troubled assets is that this site looks at the filings for the bank holding companies that are FDIC insured. Goldman doesn't hold its legacy assets in the bank holdco.

As other have alluded to unless you invest in banks or for some bizarre reason can't keep your assets in one bank below the FDIC cap then this data is meaningless and unimportant. You are better off worrying about a million other things. The FDIC is not going to fail.

Secondly the FDIC data only shows currently non-performing assets. If you were following the stress test kerfuffle at all you would realize it isn't current NPA's that are the issue. On a current basis all of the major banks are fine. Its where we are headed in the future that is the problem.

There are about 100 other issues with this data but it serves no one for me to sit here and complain about it.
posted by JPD at 3:08 PM on June 13, 2009


That's because in the grand tradition of this place you posted a link about something you don't understand. The reason why Goldman has no troubled assets is that this site looks at the filings for the bank holding companies that are FDIC insured. Goldman doesn't hold its legacy assets in the bank holdco.

OK, got it.

There are about 100 other issues with this data but it serves no one for me to sit here and complain about it.

So, I didn't really trust the data on the large banks anyway, but are you saying that the data for the small or medium size banks is also worthless? I get that I don't need to worry about my bank, I'd just like to know if there are any redeeming features here, like a searchable index of FDIC data that is accurate for some banks. Maybe it's useless for most people, but I think it's cool that somebody made the effort to put this information online at least. But if none of it is trustworthy, that's another story.
posted by A dead Quaker at 5:17 PM on June 13, 2009


Data point—One of our banks is a small local bank, about 5 branches. It wasn't in there.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:48 PM on June 13, 2009


I CAN HAZ NO ING?

(is it because they're European?)
posted by Afroblanco at 6:59 PM on June 13, 2009


Both of the credit unions I use were in the database; the Sacramento one is (by their troubled asset statistic) doing better than the Oregon one. Which is kind of interesting: Oregon's economy is all kinds of famously fucked up, but Sacramento was ground-zero for the foreclosure fad.

And Christ, JPD; constructively criticize ever? I definitely agree that it's interesting that someone has gone to the trouble of making this data accessible; it's like what data.gov should/will (eventually) be. A good, constructive discussion of the shortcomings of the methodology would be really interesting, especially since sites like this are going to become more and more common. Presented with a massive, searchable dataset, how can the average user be made aware of the limitations and shortcomings of the data? Does increasing the transparency of government data help the average person's understanding of the world/government? Or should we just give up and relegate projects like this back to the faceless guys in the cubicles?
posted by kaibutsu at 8:35 PM on June 13, 2009


I think it's interesting; putting data like this out there is a real benefit to investors or potential investors.

Just speaking generally, I think one of the reasons things got so screwed up was a total lack of transparency regarding what banks had on their books. Although a site like this wouldn't stop intentional obfuscation (there are lots of ways to hide bad assets from a summary), at least it provides a way to easily look over the information that's out there, rather than having to comb through the SEC disclosures.

No, it's not really a concern to individual depositors. As long as your accounts are insured (savings or checking-type account at traditional bank or CU) and you're under the max limit, you'll be fine in any event. Or at least you'll be just as screwed as everyone else holding dollars, which is about all you can ask for. There's no point in choosing a bank based on these numbers, or certainly not for leaving your bank because you don't like what you see. That's not really productive.

But the more information that gets out there, hopefully the better investors will be able to price various banks, and that might influence their behavior more than anything the government is going to do.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:52 PM on June 13, 2009


Unless you have more that the FDIC insurance max in your bank why would you care? Get over it. OK, this might be relevant if you are wondering whether that bank stock that dropped 80% is worth holding onto or should be sold now before the really big fall to zero. ;)
posted by caddis at 12:25 AM on June 14, 2009


And Christ, JPD; constructively criticize ever?
Well I'm just tired of people get all conspiracy theorist about this stuff when the real answer is that they just are not educated enough to know what they are looking at. OP didn't deserve me being a prick, but that's what they got.

As far as this data being interesting. Sure it is sort of. But there are a multitude of sites out there that are already doing the exact same thing. In fact you'll even see your tax dollars at work generating data that is very similar to this. I've also seen several other third party applications exactly like this.

And my final issue with this data is that unless you really know what you are looking at it is useless. Its actually worse then useless because by the time this data is published banks that have actually failed will have been taken over by the FDIC.
Now if it were something more interesting but that I happen to disagree with - say this attempt at modeling a more adverse scenario for the stress tests. I wouldn't find it quite so enervating.

I CAN HAZ NO ING?
Search for ING FSB on that analysts page at the FDIC website I linked to. Its there.
posted by JPD at 12:00 PM on June 14, 2009


Just speaking generally, I think one of the reasons things got so screwed up was a total lack of transparency regarding what banks had on their books. Although a site like this wouldn't stop intentional obfuscation (there are lots of ways to hide bad assets from a summary), at least it provides a way to easily look over the information that's out there, rather than having to comb through the SEC disclosures.

This data has always existed in exactly this format. There is nothing new here. Additionally all banks have to do to not disclose info about bad assets is to keep them in vehicles that don't report to the OCC/FDIC. Generally the SEC required disclosures are better then the OCC disclosures.
posted by JPD at 12:03 PM on June 14, 2009


Well, it's kind of interesting to see that my own bank (a small regional bank), for instance, seems to be significantly understating the potentially bad debt on its books in its statements to account holders. It might not mean anything to me as an account holder practically speaking, since my accounts are all well below the FDIC guarantee cap anyway, but it does offer me some new insight into the way my bank views its ethical responsibilities to its account holders, and how much it values honesty in its relationship with customers.

Of course, there's nothing here I couldn't dig up on my own, so its not like my bank has been actively blocking the public release of the information disclosed here. But nevertheless, its official statements to account holders have and continue to significantly downplay the realities reflected in these numbers. And that makes me, as a customer, a little wary. If their public statements haven't been honest about how much they currently hold in troubled debt assets (40.4% of the loans currently on their books are troubled, according to this data), then what else might they misrepresent?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:27 AM on June 15, 2009


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