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Regulators close two Georgia banks

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POSTED: November 15, 2010 11:32 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators on Friday shut down two banks in Georgia and one in Arizona, bringing to 146 the number of U.S. banks that have succumbed this year under the burden of bad loans and a tepid economy.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the two Georgia banks: Darby Bank & Trust Co., based in Vidalia, with $654.7 million in assets, and Tifton Banking Co. of Tifton, with $143.7 million in assets. Also seized was Copper Star Bank, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., with $204 million in assets.
Ameris Bank, based in Moultrie, agreed to assume the assets and deposits of the two failed Georgia banks. In addition, the FDIC and Ameris Bank agreed to share losses on $560.2 million of the two banks’ loans and other assets.
As a result of the acquisitions, Ameris said it will now operate 60 locations in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.
The failures of Darby Bank & Trust and Tifton Banking are expected to cost the deposit insurance fund a total $160.8 million. That of Copper Star Bank is expected to cost $43.6 million.
Georgia is among the states that have seen bank failures in the double digits this year. Some communities in the states — also California, Florida and Illinois — are still reeling from the financial meltdown that brought an avalanche of bad loans, especially for commercial real estate. The two shutdowns Friday brought the number of bank failures in Georgia this year to 18.
The 146 closures nationwide so far this year tops the 140 shuttered in all of 2009 and is the most in a year since the savings-and-loan crisis two decades ago. By this time last year, regulators had closed 123 banks.
The 2009 failures cost the insurance fund about $36 billion; the failures so far this year have cost around $21 billion, less because the banks failing in 2010 have on average been smaller. Twenty-five banks failed in 2008, the year the financial crisis struck with force; only three succumbed in 2007.
The growing bank failures have sapped billions out of the deposit insurance fund. It fell into the red last year
 

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