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Gainesville bank to open up stock
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A proposed Gainesville bank has received federal and state authorization to begin selling stock.

Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia has received approval from both the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Georgia Department of Banking for its stock offering circular.

The bank, which is in the organization process, plans to issue between 20,000 and 25,000 shares of the privately held stock at an initial price of $10 per share.

Jody Lail, president of the proposed bank, said that the organizing directors have already committed to purchase 43 percent of the shares, while an Albany bank holding company, will purchase 4.9 percent of the stock.

"The minimum capitalization will be $20 million," Lail said.

In November 2007, Heritage Financial Group of Albany announced that it expected to invest up to approximately $3 million in the new bank, which would have given them an ownership position of slightly less than 15 percent. However, the company said bank regulatory restrictions resulted in a decision to limit the investment to slightly less than 5 percent, representing an investment of approximately $1 million.

"We remain excited about the formation of Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia and see it as an opportunity to develop additional loan growth by participating in loans originated with small to medium size business owners and professionals in Hall and northern Gwinnett County," said Leonard Dorminey, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Financial Group and an initial director of Chattahoochee Bank.

The organizing group is led by Gainesville business and civic leader James A. "Jim" Walters, who will be chairman of the board of Chattahoochee Bank.

Walters leads a group of 13 organizing directors, which includes two past chairmen of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce. Rob Fowler, Gainesville insurance executive, and Jimmy Adams, who owns a moving and storage company, are among the founding directors.

The organizers have selected three executives with ties to SunTrust bank in Gainesville to manage the proposed bank. Jody Lail will be president and chief executive. He will be joined by Stephen Starke, who will serve as chief credit officer, and Greg Barrett, the chief administrative officer.

Lail, who lives in South Hall, has 19 years of banking experience, including 12 years in this market. He most recently served as senior vice president for Quantum National Bank, a $300 million community bank in northern Gwinnett County.

Lail said he has more than 400 names on a list of people who have expressed an interest in purchasing shares of Chattahoochee Bank. He hopes to complete the stock sale by July 1, and the bank will open in mid-summer in temporary offices in Townview Plaza.

A two-story bank building is already under construction on E.E. Butler Parkway and is expected to be ready by fall.

Also this week, officials with another bank in organization, Home Federal Bank, have submitted their application to the Office of Controller of the Currency, which regulates federally chartered banks.

Clyde McArthur, president of Home Federal said the application was filed on April 14. The agency is scheduled to conduct an on-site examination Tuesday and Wednesday, McArthur said.

Meanwhile, the largest locally owned bank, Peach State Bank & Trust, announced 2007 results during its annual stockholders meeting this week.

As of Dec. 31, the bank had $116 million in assets, up from $91.6 million at the end of 2006. Total loans were $89.5 million, and deposits totaled $99.1 million.

Net income for the year was $579,000, or 46 cents per share.

"We are very pleased with the results achieved in 2007," said Ron Quinn, Peach State Bank president and chief executive. "The bank reached cumulative profitability during the third quarter, which was ahead of expectations."