I hadn’t talked about it before, but I guess it’s time to bring it up. On Friday, 5 banks were closed, following the closure of another bank on Thursday, bringing the total to 15 banks in the month of January. At this pace, it will easily beat last year’s number of bank closings, which was 140. Based on predictions, however, even the average per month so far could be crushed as it’s expected that as many as 400 or 500 banks could be closed. That certainly puts a damper on things, as my post last year on the predicted 416 banks in trouble did.

The biggest bank taken over this week was First Regional Bank, with nearly $2.2 billion in assets and $1.9 billion in deposits in California. It’s the biggest bank closure so far this year.

One startling thing to follow is that three banks closed so far this year are in Washington state, which only had 3 closings total last year. The last bank that had closed there was on September 11th. Studies say foreclosures are slowly increasing in the state, yet it remains one of the low areas for foreclosures in the country, so the bank closings don’t make a lot of sense unless they’re tied in to the predicted commercial real estate crisis.

Anyway, this seems to only be the beginning of what could prove to be a scary year for banks across the country. At least no one is predicting that the record of 534 banks closed, which happened in 1989, is coming.

At least not yet.