Troubled bank list grows to 64

The number of troubled Georgia banks grew to 64 at the end of last year, as the state's banking crisis shows no sign of abating.

That's up from 57 in the third quarter and 49 in the second quarter, based on a measure of bank health known as the "Texas ratio."

The Texas ratio measures a bank's problem loans against its capital on hand to absorb losses. While regulators don't release an official list of troubled banks, the Texas ratio serves as an informal misery index that circulates widely among bankers and analysts.

A ratio of 100 or more means a bank has more problem loans than capital on hand to absorb losses. Topping Georgia’s list: tiny McIntosh Commercial Bank in Carrollton. McIntosh had a ratio of 884, one of the highest in the nation, according to Atlanta-based FIG Partners, a bank consulting firm.

The bank, established in 2002, was growing fast and earning more than $1 million a year by 2006. Less than 2 percent of its loans were in distress.

By the end of 2009, however, the picture for McIntosh and most other Georgia banks had changed drastically amid a deep recession and collapsed housing market.

McIntosh, which bet heavily on real estate during the boom like many Georgia banks, reported heavy losses in 2009 and ended the year with nearly half of its loans in some stage of delinquency.

In all, 16 Georgia banks joined the list in the fourth quarter and eight others fell off because they failed.

Having a Texas ratio above 100 does not mean a bank will fail. Many banks with high ratios are able to shore up their bottom lines by selling bad loans and raising new capital.

That’s a strategy being pursued by Decatur First Bank, which joined the list in the fourth quarter with a Texas ratio of 133 percent. The bank has been selling foreclosed properties and plans to raise between $5.5 million and $10 million, said Judy Turner, the bank’s CEO.

“I hope this is a fluke and we’ll be off [the list] at the end of the first quarter,” she said. “But there are economic conditions that I cannot control or predict.”

But it’s not an easy process, said Chris Marinac, a FIG Partners research analyst, as . investors are wary of putting money into troubled banks.

Meanwhile, real estate prices remain depressed, forcing banks to take losses when the foreclose on or sell properties.

“The way you get out of it is having a better economy that lifts prices for real estate, which we haven’t seen yet,” Marinac said.

Here are Georgia banks with Texas ratios above 100.

The bank is followed by its location, the ratio in the fourth quarter vs. third quarter.

McIntosh Commercial Bank, Carrollton:  884, 592

Century Security Bank, Johns Creek: 746, 474

Appalachian Community Bank, Ellijay: 563, 398

First Commerce Community Bank, Douglasville: 447, 380

First State Bank, Stockbridge: 433, 244

Bank of Hiawassee Bank, Hiawassee: 410, 257

Habersham Bank, Clarkesville: 383, 269

North Georgia Bank, Watkinsville: 368, 292

Gordon Bank, Gordon: 362, 231

Montgomery Bank & Trust, Ailey: 358, 215

Security Exchange Bank, Marietta: 353, 280

First National Bank, Savannah: 350, 161

American Trust Bank, Roswell: 329, 208

Chestatee State Bank, Dawsonville: 317, 261

Douglas County Bank, Douglasville: 311, 237

Bank of Ellijay, Ellijay: 296, 152

Unity National Bank, Cartersville: 248, 198

High Trust Bank, Stockbridge: 241, 211

First Cherokee State Bank, Woodstock: 240, 208

Gwinnett Community Bank, Duluth: 237, 225

Enterprise Banking Co., McDonough: 236, 158

Northwest Bank & Trust, Acworth: 233, 228

Sunrise Bank of Atlanta, Atlanta: 226, 124

Crescent Bank & Trust, Jasper: 225, 129

Hometown Community Bank, Braselton: 225, 244

Providence Bank, Alpharetta: 224, 126

McIntosh State Bank, Jackson: 215, 172

Satilla Community Bank, St. Marys: 210, 82

Piedmont Community Bank, Gray: 209, 192

Peoples Bank, Covington: 202, 192

Darby Bank & Trust, Vidalia: 201, 137

Park Avenue Bank, Valdosta: 196, 99

Peoples Bank, Winder: 189, 118

First Citizens Bank of Georgia, Dawsonville: 179, 105

Peoples Bank & Trust, Buford: 178, 185

Patriot Bank of Georgia, Cumming: 173, 127

Citizens Bank of Effingham, Springfield: 171, 25

Farmers & Merchants Bank, Lakeland: 167, 120

Heritage Bank, Jonesboro: 166, 138

Piedmont Bank, Lawrenceville: 165, 75

Community Bank & Trust, LaGrange: 161, 155

Northside Bank, Adairsville: 159, 124

Community Capital Bank, Jonesboro: 157, 139

Atlantic Southern Bank, Macon: 155, 110

First National Bank,  Barnesville: 153, 143

WestSide Bank, Hiram: 152, 131

Legacy State Bank, Loganville: 145, 139

CreekSide Bank, Woodstock: 142, 125

Mountain Heritage Bank,  Clayton: 141, 116

Central Bank of Georgia, Ellaville: 134, 85

Decatur First Bank, Decatur: 133, 84

New Horizons Bank, East Ellijay: 126, 80

Peoples Community National Bank, Bremen: 123, 197

Citizens State Bank, Kingsland: 122, 56

Georgia Heritage Bank,  Dallas: 120, 99

Farmers Bank, Forsyth: 119, 102

Bank of Newington, Newington: 118, 76

Oglethorpe Bank, Brunswick: 117,  50

First National Bank, Griffin: 116, 130

Bartow County Bank, Cartersville: 114, 99

PlantersFirst, Cordele: 114, 98

Jasper Banking Co., Jasper: 112, 61

First National Bank, Chatsworth: 106, 64

Eastside Commercial Bank, Conyers: 105, 108

Source: FIG Partners

In Other News