Tuesday, June 01, 2010
With 73 bank failures so far this year, double last year's pace, this information is especially important.
So I urge you to check our list of the weakest banks to make sure your institution is not on it. Then, if it is, you can check our list of the strongest to find an alternative in your state.
First, just in case our Weiss Ratings are new to you, let me explain what they are. We began issuing ratings on 13,000 banks in 1987 — based on a statistical analysis of their capital, asset quality, earnings, liquidity, and other factors.
Unlike other major ratings agencies, Weiss Ratings never accepts compensation of any kind from the companies it rates.
Unlike other rating agencies, we do not grade companies on a curve. If they're weak and they put your investments or savings at risk, we say so. No sugarcoating.
And unlike other agencies, we never delay downgrades or suppress publication of a company's rating.
Our independence and objectivity help explain why we have accurately identified the weakness of nearly all banks that subsequently failed in the last 23 years.
What our ratings mean. We rate companies on a scale similar to school grades:
A = excellent
B = good
C = fair
D = weak
E = very weak
F = failed
plus sign = upper third of the grade range
minus sign = lower third of the grade range
Our general recommendations. Regardless of government guarantees or bailouts, we believe you should seek to:
Avoid institutions with a Weiss Rating of D+ or lower. These are the institutions on our "weakest" list, considered vulnerable.
Do business with those boasting a Weiss Rating of B+ or higher. These are on our "strongest" list, and we generally recommended them for their safety.
It's time to name names. [The government won't so the least I can do is give you fair warning! Steve..ed.]There are currently 20 very large institutions (with $25 billion or more in assets) in our vulnerable or "weakest" category, including Bank of America, Citibank, Wachovia, HSBC Bank USA, SunTrust, Regions Bank, RBS Citizens,[for those living in Pennsylvania, Sovereign Bank was recently merged with Banco Santander, a Spanish bank to avoid bankruptcy! Steve ..ed.]
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