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Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 12:18pm

Bad Assets Plague Savannah Bank

Banking regulators have told a relatively well-performing Savannah bank to reduce its troubled assets.

The agreement between the The Savannah Bank and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reflects just how far Georgia banks have to recover from the Great Recession.

The Savannah Bank has a lower than average ratio of troubled loans.

And it's one of the state's higher-earning banks.

So, Ed Sibbald of Georgia Southern University's Center for Excellence in Financial Services says, a regulatory action against it speaks to the economy.

"This is not a reflection on management. This is not even a reflection on the bank," Sibbald says. "It's a reflection on the times and the difficulties borrowers are having in repaying what were well-constructed loans to begin with but that got side-swiped by this thing called the Great Recession."

Bank failures have hit Georgia harder than any other state, with 71 failed banks in three years.

"One of the things we need to understand about Savannah Bancorp compared to a lot of other banks in the state of Georgia, they're in a fairly strong financial position. They have good capital ratios. They're one of the better earners in the entire state."

The Savannah Bank serves the coastal area with about a billion dollars in total assets.

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