Georgia banks appear to be turning a corner. A report shows, Georgia banks are profitable for the first time in three years. The FDIC shows earnings for Georgia banks improved by about $2.5 billion last year over the previous one.
Federal regulators are suing 11 insiders at a failed Georgia bank, accusing them of gross negligence. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. accuses the executives and directors of Alpha Bank & Trust, in Alpharetta, of sloppy lending practices. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the lawsuit seeks $23.9 million in damages.
Federal regulators seized two more Georgia banks late Friday, making 16 failures for the year and 67 since the middle of 2008, leading the nation. And there's likely more pain ahead for the industry in the rest of 2011. High Trust Bank in Stockbridge, and Atlanta-based One Georgia Bank were both were heavy in commerical real estate loans.
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.
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.
From Ellijay through Atlanta to Vidalia and the coast, it’s been another tough year for Georgia’s banks. 21 have closed in the state, making it the second-worst in the nation for bank failures. But some analysts see brighter skies in 2011.