Georgia bank failures rise to 63

Regulators closed two more Georgia banks Friday, selling both to a South Carolina institution.

Atlantic Southern Bank, of Macon, and First Georgia Banking Co., of Franklin, were seized and sold to Easley, S.C.-based CertusBank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said.

Atlantic Southern and First Georgia are the 11th and 12th Georgia failures of the year. Georgia leads the nation with 63 failures since August 2008.

Atlantic Southern had 15 branches in South Georgia, and one in Jacksonville, Fla. Atlantic Southern, founded in 2001 under another name, had $741.9 million in assets and total deposits of $707.6 million, the FDIC said.

First Georgia had 10 branches across the state, including locations in Columbus, Athens and Dalton. The bank had $731 million in assets and total deposits of $702.2 million.

CertusBank acquired essentially all of both banks’ deposits and the bulk of their assets in a loss-share deal with the FDIC. The regulator said the failures will result in an estimated $430 million loss to its Deposit Insurance Fund, which protects depositors.

Atlantic Southern and First Georgia were heavily weighted in commercial real estate and construction loans.

About 40 percent of Atlantic Southern’s loans were in distress at the end of the first quarter, according to a FIG Partners analysis. The bank lost $76.2 million over the past two years, according to FDIC data.

First Georgia, founded in 2003, had combined losses of $52.1 million in 2009 and 2010. About 20 percent of its loans were distressed as of December, the last data available.