U.S. regulators close four small banks

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U.S. regulators closed four small banks on Friday -- two in Georgia, one in Minnesota and one in California, bringing the total of U.S. bank failures to 44 this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said the closings were:

-- Community Bank of West Georgia, a small bank in Villa Rica, Georgia, with assets of $199.4 million and total deposits of $182.5 million, as of May 15. A buyer could not be found, so the FDIC was appointed as receiver and will mail checks to insured depositors for their insured funds on June 29.

-- Neighborhood Community Bank, of Newnan, Georgia, with $221.6 million in assets and $191.3 million in deposits, as of March 31. CharterBank, of West Point, Georgia, agreed to assume the insured deposits and $209.6 million of the assets. Neighborhood's four offices will reopen as CharterBank branches.

-- Horizon Bank, of Pine City, Minnesota, with $87.6 million in assets and $69.4 million in deposits as of March 31. Stearns Bank, NA, of St Cloud, Minnesota, agreed to assume all of Horizon's deposits and to buy $84.4 million of its assets. Horizon's two offices will reopen on Saturday as Stearns branches.

-- MetroPacific Bank, of Irvine, California, with $80 million in assets and $73 million in deposits, as of June 8. Sunwest Bank, of Tustin, California, agreed to assume all of the deposits, excluding those from brokers, and virtually all of MetroPacific's assets. MetroPacific's sole office will reopen on Monday as a branch of Sunwest Bank.

Customers can access their money over the weekend by check, teller machine or debit card, the FDIC said.

In 2008, 25 U.S. banks were seized by officials, up from only 3 in 2007.

During the current financial crisis, Seattle-based lender Washington Mutual became the biggest bank to fail in U.S. history. It was closed in September while suffering from losses from soured mortgages and liquidity problems.

The FDIC will insure up to $250,000 per account.

The agency also has running a tally of problem banks that its examiners closely monitor. At the end of the first quarter, 305 undisclosed institutions were on that list.

(Reporting by Charles Abbott and Karey Wutkowski; Editing by Gary Hill)

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