How many banks, worldwide, have failed?

The UK government’s now been forced to nationalize another building society today. That makes two nationalizations and the forced sell-off of HBOS by my count in the UK alone. How many banks, building societies and other financial institutions have failed worldwide due to the recent financial crisis?

Before someone finds a list somewhere on the Internet, I can add the tally for Iceland:

Spron: bought by Kaupthing earlier this summer
Glitnir: nationalised just today

And Byr is probably about to fall, considering they were having merger-discussions with Glitnir just last week. (yeah, they picked the right partner)

So that’s **two **for Iceland, at the moment.

Probably three by the end of the week.

It would of course depend on your definition of failed. Washington Mutual was seized by the government, so obviously it failed. It didn’t get that bad for Wachovia, but it is in the process of merging with Citibank, as a result of its weakness in this crisis. So I’d count Wachovia as well.

In the whole human history of banking? I can’t imagine where you’d find such a list, but there must be hundreds, if not thousands.


It’s not quite that simple.
The FDIC did walk in the room during the Wachovia debacle.
It’s closer to an arranged marriage with FDIC paying the dowry.

“While regulators said the Charlotte-based bank hadn’t failed, Wachovia will lose its biggest unit and investors will get only about $1 a share for the bank, whose stock topped $59 in April 2006. All depositors will be protected, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which helped broker the takeover by Citigroup.”


Eh, the credit markets were pricing that bank to fail. The US Gov helped Citi take over before it blew. I see there was a major side agreement to take on troubled assets, I’d count Wachovia as effectively on the road.

The OP specified “during the recent financial crisis”.

Here’s the FDICs list of US commercial banks that have failed this year

Washington Mutual Bank, Henderson, NV and Washington Mutual Bank FSB, Park City, UT
Ameribank, Northfork, WV
Silver State Bank, Henderson, NV
Integrity Bank, Alpharetta, GA
The Columbian Bank and Trust, Topeka, KS
First Priority Bank, Bradenton, FL
First Heritage Bank, NA, Newport Beach, CA
First National Bank of Nevada, Reno, NV
IndyMac Bank, Pasadena, CA
First Integrity Bank, NA, Staples, MN
ANB Financial, NA, Bentonville, AR
Hume Bank, Hume, MO
Douglass National Bank, Kansas City, MO

In Canada? None since the crisis started.

In fact, none since 1985, when two banks failed: The Bank Failurles of September, 1985 [pdf]. Those were the first two banks in Canada to fail since 1923.

Banks in Canada are chartered solely by the federal government, under the terms of the Bank Act, which is designed to ensure conservative banking standards. It’s been criticized as being too restrictive, not in tune with the go-go global economy, etc.

But banks in Canada don’t fail, as a general rule.

Maybe conservative banking regulations are a good thing? [he says, innocently :p]

Technically Bradford and Bingley is not a building society. When it de-mutialised it became a mortgage bank. The term building society really only applies to those mutual organizations such as the Nationwide, which is owned by its members and not by shareholders.

By law they also have much tighter rules about what sort money they can use for mortgages and how they invest their money in the open market. If the B&B had stayed as a building society it would not have been in the trouble it now finds itsef in.

In the US, I think you have to count Countrywide and Wachovia even though they were bought out before they technically failed. Then IndyMac and Washington Mutual who both failed outright and are were “Major” banks.

So that’s 4 big banks in the US.

The OP also specified finacial institutions so Lehman Brothers without question, Bear Stern and Merril Lynch should probably be added to that list as well. AIG and Fanny and Freddy are more questionable additions, but probably belong on the list too.

So I would say 7-10 major financial institutions have failed in the US.

From this thread it’s at least 3 for the UK and probably 3 for Iceland by the end of the week.

So, 12-16 by my count, depending on how you count things, in just the US, UK and Iceland. Yikes.

I heard about either a Dutch or German institution, (maybe one of each?) failing on the news this morning. But I was only half awake so I don’t quite remember the details. Can someone help me out with that?

How are things going in Asia? Is the crisis hitting them hard too? I am only really hearing about the US and Europe. I know Russia is having stock market troubles.

Fortis is the Dutch/Belgian one.

I think Wikipedia has this same list.

It also has this one, listing 67, though some didn’t fail:

Zero in Australia this time around. Still, it’s early days yet!

There’s also Franco/Belgian Dexia which seems to be a specialist in local government finance, and in Germany Hypo Real Estate had to be bailed out. Fun and games…