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Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 12:30pm

Coastal Bank Emerges From Consent Order

A locally-owned bank in the Savannah area has emerged from a two-year-old consent order imposed by federal banking regulators.

The turnaround for The Coastal Bank reflects broader improvements in Georgia's banking sector.

A total of 87 banks in Georgia have been closed since mid-2008.

This year so far, it's three.

Bank profitability is up.

And now the Coastal Bank has emerged from heightened scrutiny by federal banking regulators.

Bank President and CEO Jim LaHaise says finances are improving for both commercial and personal banking customers.

"It's one of the indicators that general conditions are improving," LaHaise says. "There's still a long way to go in the overall economy. But certainly there are highlights."

Georgia Bankers Association spokesman David Oliver says the number of late loan payments in Georgia has gone down by half since last year.

"Consumer and business finances have gotten better," Oliver says. "Banks like Coastal and the other banks have had the opportunity to work through their problem assets."

Oliver says that he expects more positive numbers when a more detailed quarterly banking report is released in August.