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Deposits on the decline for county banks
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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has released its annual deposit market share report for banks. The report shows a decline in Hall County bank deposits for the first time since 2004. Deposits in Hall County banks, as of June 30, totaled $2.57 billion, compared with $2.64 billion on June 30, 2007.

The report, a snapshot of bank deposits on June 30, came at a time when the merger of Gainesville Bank & Trust with SunTrust was not fully completed.

SunTrust had assumed operation of GB&T, but it remained a separate banking entity for the report.

The report lists Regions Bank, the market leader for many years, as holding on to the lead with $470 million in deposits and a 18.31 percent market share. However, Regions saw its Hall County deposits decline by $57 million since the report in 2007.

Wachovia was second with $451 million and a 17.56 percent market share. Like Regions, Wachovia's deposits in Hall were down by $12.3 million.

GB&T was third with $397 million and a 15.48 percent share. However, combined with SunTrust's $158 million in deposits, the two banks, now fully merged, would be the market leader with $555 million in local deposits.

While SunTrust's deposits increased by $5 million, GB&T, which was on the verge of toppling Regions long domination last year, saw deposits drop by $106 million, the largest decline of any of the 18 banks in the market.

In November 2007, GB&T Bancshares reported significant losses due to residential development loans and announced it would merge with SunTrust.

United Community Bank was the only one of the top five banks to show an increase in deposits, going from $251 million to $295 million.

Peach State Bank & Trust, which became the largest locally owned bank in Hall County following the GB&T merger, saw its deposits jump from $89 million in 2007 to $125 million.

Ron Quinn, president of Peach State, said his bank, like other community banks, has drawn a number of former GB&T customers. He said deposits, as of Sept. 30, had grown to $157 million, an increase of $32 million in three months.

"We're very optimistic and it's been a good year for Peach State," Quinn said. "With GB&T going out of the picture, it has opened up opportunities to pick up local business."

First Century Bank, which changed its name from National Bank of Gainesville, saw the largest percentage increase going from .89 percent of the market in 2007 to 1.55 percent with a deposit increase from $23 million to $39 million.

"We're excited and working hard to make an impact in the community," said Kurt Hansen, president of First Century. Like Peach State, First Century has actively sought former GB&T customers. Hansen is one of several former GB&T executives who joined First Century after the GB&T merger. "We're leveraging the relationships we all brought with us."

Three new players entered the Hall County market since the last report. Mountain Valley Community Bank, based in Cleveland, opened a branch at Quillians Corner and had $3.9 million in deposits.

Habersham Bank, a Clarkesville based-bank, opened a new office in Braselton with $495,000 in deposits. Peoples Bank, a branch of a Winder-based company, had $50,000 in Hall County deposits.

Statewide, SunTrust continued as the market leader in the state with $35 billion in deposits, followed by Wachovia with $27.8 billion and Bank of America with $17.9 billion.


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