Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said the agency has reduced its projection of the number of bank failures this year.

In a cable news interview Friday, Bair said that, though closures are still expected to exceed last year's total of 140, "the pace is slowing." "We do think things are improving," she said. "We think it will be more than 140" this year "but less than what we were projecting, for instance, three months ago."

Bair reiterated a projection that failures would peak "toward the end of this year." She added that it will continue to be predominantly smaller banks that are closed and said some institutions that had been nearing insolvency — and were placed on the agency's "problem" list — have since recovered.

"Some of the banks that we thought were going to fail have actually raised capital, and they've come off of our list," she said.

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