Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland wants the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to take a closer look at how it goes about closing banks. Westmoreland said agency regulators have flexibility in how they work with banks that might be in trouble, but they are not using it out of fear they will back a bank that still ends up failing. The north Georgia congressman said he worries the FDIC is closing community banks that could ultimately survive with some help.
Two-thirds of the Georgia’s banks had improved earnings in 2010 and fewer institutions operated in the red, according to the fourth-quarter banking profile from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Georgia banks lost $1.6 billion in 2010, less the half their losses in 2009. But nationwide, banks made more than $87 billion altogether last year.
State Senator Republican Jack Murphy says he’s innocent of federal charges brought against him. The FDIC is suing him and others who sat on the board of a failed local bank. The civil lawsuit alleges the bank violated banking laws.
The state’s first bank failure of the new year came over the weekend. Georgia’s Department of Banking and Finance closed Brunswick’s Oglethorpe Bank late Friday. Deposits and assets were acquired by Bank of the Ozarks, a Little Rock, Arkansas-based institution.