Last year bank failures slowed to 51, but that's still more than normal.
In a strong economy an average of only four or five banks close annually. The sharply reduced pace of closings shows sustained improvement.
From 2008 through 2011, bank failures cost the deposit insurance fund an estimated $88 billion, and the fund fell into the red in 2009. But with failures slowing, the fund's balance turned positive in the second quarter of 2011. By Sept. 30 of this year it stood at $25.2 billion, up from $22.7 billion at the end of June.
The FDIC expects bank failures from 2012 through 2016 to cost $10 billion.