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Experts say Wisconsin banks very sound

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Don't look for any Wisconsin banks to fail like the Indy-Mac Bank just did out West.

John Rickmeier runs a Hartland company that analyzes financial institutions nationwide and he says Wisconsin banks are still highly-rated, despite increases in delinquent loans.

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M&I, the state's largest bank, is expected to announce a loss Wednesday for the second quarter of the year.

That's due mainly to faulty loans connected with developments in Arizona and Florida. But Rickmeyer says M&I's total operation remains strong.

State financial institutions' secretary Lorrie Keating-Heinemann said her agency encouraged banks to keep high reserves in the good years to help weather off the bad times.

As a result, she says no state-chartered banks are in imminent danger.

Others say Wisconsin banks were smart to stay away from the sub-prime loans which have caused thousands of foreclosures nationwide.

Kurt Bauer of the Wisconsin Bankers' Association says his members are faring better than most others but they'll still struggle with earnings for at least the next six months.

Wisconsin has not had a bank fail since 2003.

That was due to excessive unauthorized loans by the president of the First National Bank of Blanchardville. He was sent to prison for that.

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