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Two area banks close, reopen under new names
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The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance closed two area banks on Friday.

Both the Bank of Hiawassee and the Appalachian Community Bank will reopen today under new names.

Bank of Hiawassee customers will become clients of Citizens South Bank, which is based in North Carolina. The five branches of the Hiawassee bank, including institutions operating as Bank of Blue Ridge and Bank of Blairsville, will all operate under the new Citizens name.

Appalachian Community Bank customers are now customers of Community and Southern Bank, which is based in Carrollton. Seven locations — including those in Dahlonega, Blairsville and Dawsonville — will be affected, along with three Gilmer County Bank locations in the Ellijay area.

After the banks were closed on Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was named as receiver of both institutions. In order to protect the deposits of customers of both banks, the FDIC then entered into purchase and assumption agreements with the new owners.

"Basically, this is a nonevent for depositors. The only thing they will notice is that their bank has a new name. They will continue to have access to their money just as they did before," FDIC spokesman Greg Hernandez said. "At some point, the acquiring institution will contact the customers and let them know of any changes in banking policies, until then, it is business as usual."

Loan customers are also expected to make payments as usual and checks drawn on the banks will continue to be processed.

Those with questions about the Bank of Hiawassee closure should call 800-508-8289. Customers with questions about the Appalachian Community Bank closure should call 800-894-1696.