Georgia bank failures reach 70 since financial crisis
Regulators closed two Georgia banks over the weekend, bringing the state's total to 70 since 2008. The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance closed Patriot Bank and Creekside Bank on Friday. Patriot held $150.8 million in assets and $111.2 million in deposits, while Creekside held $102.3 million in assets and $96.6 million in deposits. Atlanta-based Georgia Commerce Bank agreed to acquire all deposits and purchase essentially all the assets of the two failed banks. It entered into a loss-share transaction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., covering nearly $200 million of the failed banks' assets. The FDIC estimates the closings to cost the deposit insurance fund a combined $71.7 million. Bank failures have struck Georgia harder than any other state. The next closest is Florida with 55 closings since 2008. The House Financial Services Committee held a special hearing in the state last week on the status of community banks. Panelists said the smaller community banks in the area are being simultaneously pushed out of the market by over-regulation and the unfair support of larger institutions. So far in 2011, 70 banks have failed nationally, and banking analysts at Trepp said the total count should reach 100 for the year — a drop from the more than 150 closed the year before. "The pace of closures in August was roughly in line with the year-to-date average of 8.5 per month," Trepp said. "We maintain our estimate of a total failure count of approximately 100 for 2011. The process will likely extend into 2012." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.