The number of problem institutions — those viewed by regulators as being at heightened risk of failure — continued to drop to 411 in the quarter ended March 31 from 467 in the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in its quarterly banking report. Five banks failed in the first quarter, which is down significantly from the peak of 157 failures reached in 2010, FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said during a May 28 briefing on the report. “While the number of failures is still above what we would expect to see in normal years, it’s much lower than we’ve seen previously,” Gruenberg said. The reduction is due to a combination of factors, including improvements in the quality of mergers and acquisitions, assets and earnings and the introduction of new capital into the industry to buttress banks in need, the FDIC said.

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