Small Georgia bank fails, state's second in 2012

A small bank in central Georgia was closed Friday by regulators, the second failure in the state this year.

Central Bank of Georgia, based about 70 miles southwest of Macon in Ellaville, was sold to Ameris Bank. The five former Central Bank branches will reopen Saturday during normal business hours under the Ameris flag.

Seventy-six banks have failed in Georgia since mid-2008, more than in any other state in that time.

Moultrie-based Ameris will assume all of Central Bank’s $266.6 million in deposits and the bulk of its $278.9 million in assets under a loss share deal with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The FDIC said the failure will result in a $67.5 million loss to its Deposit Insurance Fund, the backstop that protects depositors.

Central Bank had branches and a mortgage office in Macon and branches in Buena Vista, Butler and Cusseta, according to its website. Founded as Bank of Ellaville in 1910, the bank's name changed in 2003 to Central Bank of Georgia.

The bank opened a branch in Macon in 2005, which coincided with explosive growth. The bank more than doubled in asset size from the end of 2004 to the end of 2008, fueled by real estate loans.

Central Bank lost $5.6 million through the first three quarters of 2011, after losses totaling about $10.5 million in 2009 and 2010, according to FDIC data.