Nine Valley banks get good 'health' scores [The Fresno Bee]By Tim Sheehan, The Fresno BeeMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Sept. 16--The financial health of nine of the 11 Valley-based banks was rated as "good" or better by a prominent analysis company.
The ratings reflect a nationwide trend of improving financial conditions among banks and credit unions, according to BauerFinancial, a Florida bank-rating firm.
The company's assessment is based on information submitted by banks to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and by credit unions to the National Credit Union Association for the second quarter of 2012.
More than 66% of the nation's banks earned Bauer's rating of 5 stars or 4 stars with the June 30 financial data, the firm said in a statement. "That's a number we haven't seen since March 2008," it said.
More than 75% of credit unions nationwide also received 5- or 4-star ratings.
Among banks headquartered in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare and Merced counties, Bauer gave 5-star "superior" ratings to Porterville-based Finance & Thrift Co., Fresno First Bank, Murphy Bank in Fresno and Valley Business Bank in Visalia.
Central Valley Community Bank in Fresno and Suncrest Bank in Visalia earned 4-star "excellent" ratings from Bauer. "Good" ratings of 3 1/2 stars were given to Bank of the Sierra in Porterville, Premier Valley Bank in Fresno and Visalia Community Bank.
Security First Bank in Visalia was rated with 3 stars, or "adequate," while Fresno's United Security Bank rated only 2 stars, considered "problematic" by Bauer. "There are still over 10% of banks and nearly 4% of credit unions that fall into the 2-star or below category of troubled or problematic institutions," the company reported.
The Bauer ratings are generated by a formula that considers a bank's assets, capital levels, quarterly and year-to-date income, and the proportion of an institution's loans that are considered "non-performing," on which borrowers are unable to keep up payments.
Among 20 credit unions based in the five-county region, Bauer rated 10 as 5-star or superior performers, and six more received 4-star or excellent ratings. Only one institution, the Fresno-based State Center Credit Union, was given the 2-star problematic rating.
No Valley banks or credit unions were hit with BauerFinancial's 1-star rating, representing what the company calls "troubled" institutions.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6319, firstname.lastname@example.org or @tsheehan on Twitter.
(c)2012 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)
Visit The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.) at www.fresnobee.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services