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Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 3:08pm

Georgia's Two Biggest Banks Post Losses

Georgia's two biggest banks posted third quarter losses Thursday totaling three quarters of a billion dollars. Both banks have gone more than a year without posting a profit and are now trying to reassure worried investors.

Atlanta-based Suntrust Banks Inc. has been especially hurt by the real estate bust. The bank invested heavily in home construction and development throughout the Southeast, resulting in a loss of $377 million this past quarter.

Suntrust spokesman Barry Koling says investors should be reassured by emerging signs of stability in the economy.

But, he says, "It could take some time until an improving economy translates into meaningful results for banks."

Georgia's second largest bank, Columbus-based Synovus Financial Corp., also fared poorly in the third quarter. It posted a loss of $423 million.

The housing crisis has hit Georgia's banking sector particularly hard. This year, 25 banks in the state have failed -- more than in any other state.