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Local banks earn national distinction
Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia attracting more customers
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Katie Austin, a teller at Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia in Gainesville, checks her money in the drive-up window. - photo by Tom Reed

Safest banks

These banks in Georgia made the nationwide list of the safest banks, according to a formula called the Texas Ratio and reported on the Investing Answers website and MSN Money:

  • Chattahoochee Bank of Georgia, Gainesville
  • Community Business Bank, Cumming
  • Independence Bank of Georgia, Braselton
  • Verity Bank, Winder
  • NOA Bank, Duluth
  • Invesco National Trust Company, Atlanta

Source: investinganswers.com

Several area banks have been ranked among the “safest in America” in an article by the website Investing Answers and reported by MSN Money.

The article says the 359 banks chosen from more than 7,300 banks were selected because they “achieved a perfect Texas Ratio of 0.0.”

Chattachoochee Bank of Georgia in Gainesville, which opened in September 2008, has had a few new customers walk through its doors since the article came out.

“Given all the negative news about community banks in Georgia, we are pleased to be recognized by MSN to build our bank to last for the long term,” President and CEO Jody Lail said.

Georgia has had eight banks closed just this year by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

All of the local banks listed by MSN were opened in 2008. Their timing may have helped them come out on top as they may have avoided any problems with building and construction loans when the real estate market began to fall.

Another local bank also has noticed a few more customers since the article.

“This MSN list has certainly generated some interest in us,” said President and CEO Terry C. Evans of Independence Bank of Georgia, based in Braselton.

He noted that customers and stockholders called to alert the bank to the distinction.

Independence Bank opened in October 2008. The Gainesville location has been open for a year and a half.

Evans said he feels blessed for the bank to be considered one of the safest in America. He credits the good business decisions of the board of directors and the timing of the charter.

“We dodged the bullet (of the recession) and we brought on staff (who) share the community banking philosophy of building relationships and community involvement,” Evans said.

According to the article, the Texas Ratio was used to predict bank failures in Texas in the 1980s recession and again in a recession in the 1990s in New England.

The ratio is a metric that takes a number of factors into account in assessing how safe the financial institution is. The higher the number, the more likely the FDIC is to have a bank in its crosshairs for possible closure.

Verity Bank in Winder also made the list and noted its ability to make prompt decisions regarding loan requests as an integral part of its success.

“Our team works diligently every day to ensure that Verity Bank’s safety rating remains exemplary and it’s rewarding to be ranked among other high-performing financial institutions,” President and COO Steven F. Smith said.

Verity Bank, which opened its first location in October 2008 in Winder, opened its second location Wednesday in downtown Cornelia.

“Everyone at Verity Bank is excited about the future and we are truly grateful for the opportunities that have allowed us to grow, but more importantly than growth, we are determined to be a sound and profitable bank that exemplifies servant leadership and ethical business practices,” Smith said.

A simplified approach is what Community Business Bank in Cumming said makes it a safe choice.

“We’re a very clean bank; we try not to make banking more complicated than it needs to be. We’re in a very nice market and we try to take good care of folks,” President and CEO Carter Barrett said.

Community Business Bank opened in January 2008.

He said part of the reason it is one of the safest banks is because it sticks to the basics and the fundamentals of running a business.

“Honestly, the reason for that is because we really do take a common-sense approach to underwriting loan requests,” Barrett said.

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