The number of banks that lost money grew 25% in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to the rating service Veribanc Inc.

In its analysis of Federal Reserve Board data, Veribanc of Wakefield, Mass., found that 555 banks had posted losses in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with 463 in the second quarter and 444 in the third quarter of 1997. The company also found that 30 banks had serious losses-defined as sufficient to deplete equity within a year-in the quarter, compared with 12 a year earlier.

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