Friday, January 02, 2009

Is your bank safe and sound?

There have been five north GA banks that have failed last quarter or are on the problem list with cease and desist orders
  • Freedom Bank, Commerce, has entered into a “cease and desist order” with state and federal regulators to overhaul the bank’s operations, December 27, 2008
  • Haven Trust Bank, Duluth, GA, December 12, 2008
  • First Georgia Community Bank, Jackson, GA, December 5, 2008
  • The Community Bank, Loganville, GA, November 21, 2008
  • Alpha Bank & Trust, Alpharetta, GA, October 24, 2008
The FDIC maintains a list of failed banks here. They also maintain a "watchlist" but refuse to make that list public but say that there are about 117 banks on the list of problems.

In addition, since, "[The FDIC is] fully expecting, over the course of the next 12 to 18 months, [that] there is going to be a rash of failures," said Nick Ketcha Jr., a former director of supervision at the FDIC who now serves as a managing director at the New Jersey-based financial services consulting firm FinPro," they are currently advertising for Bank Failure Specialists.

In our neck of the woods, the employment outlook is dim. Unemployment rate increases to 25-year high, so Madison Countians reluctantly asking for government aid.

With all that in mind, how can you be sure your own bank is stable? It is bad enough to have lost an average of 30% in retirement savings, to have lost or may lose a job, worries about the safety of the banking institution you use should not ad fuel to the anxiety fire. has a Safe & Sound rating system that is widely accepted as a standard for determining if a bank is stable. Five stars is highest.

Merchant's and Farmer's Bank: **** "Sound."
BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust) *** "Performing"
First Madison Bank & Trust: *** "Performing"

The Bankrate system also rates credit unions. I didn't check banks in Athens or Commerce, but they are available to check by either bank name, city, or zip code.

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