Fayette’s 3rd largest bank fails; FDIC sells Bank of Georgia assets to Fidelity Bank


All 7 branches now open under Fidelity brand with no effect on depositors; failure to cost FDIC $23.2 million; several local stockholders take hit

State and federal bank regulators swooped in after bank closing hours Friday to take over the financially troubled Bank of Georgia and quickly transfer control of its $294 million in assets and $280 million in deposits to Fidelity Bank of Atlanta, bringing its branches up to 47 locations in 14 counties, according to a news release from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

“The Bank of Georgia, Peachtree City, Georgia, was closed [Friday] by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Fidelity Bank, Atlanta, Georgia, to assume all of the deposits of The Bank of Georgia,” according to a news release from the FDIC.

“Depositors of The Bank of Georgia will automatically become depositors of Fidelity Bank. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage up to applicable limits. Customers of The Bank of Georgia should continue to use their existing branch until they receive notice from Fidelity Bank that it has completed systems changes to allow other Fidelity Bank branches to process their accounts as well,” the FDIC news release said.

“…[D]epositors of The Bank of Georgia can access their money by writing checks or using ATM or debit cards. Checks drawn on the bank will continue to be processed. Loan customers should continue to make their payments as usual,” the FDIC said.

Bank of Georgia signs were covered either with white tarps or changed to the new owner, Fidelity, by Monday morning. The failed bank had lost more than $9 million over the past four years, according to bank filings. Georgia Bancshares, the bank’s holding company, saw its over the counter stock price fall to 15 cents a share before close of business Oct. 2. The holding company’s last stock dividend was paid in July 2008, just as the Great Recession hit.

In deposit marketshare, Bank of Georgia was ranked number three in Fayette County, behind Bank of America and Wells Fargo, number seven in Coweta and 59th in Georgia.

The move is costing the FDIC $23.2 million, the FDIC news release said.

Several local investors are left with a holding company without its main asset, the bank. The holding company was not included in the closing of the bank or the resulting receivership.

Shareholders with more than 5 percent of the stock were listed in a filing this year as:

• Arlie C. Aukerman and Frances W. Aukerman, Lovejoy, Ga., 265,133 shares  — 7.80 percent common stock.

• Rick A. Duncan, Atlanta, Ga., 171,393 shares — 5.04 percent.

• Malcolm R. Godwin, Peachtree City, Ga., 197,404 shares — 5.81 percent.

• Thomas G. Sellmer, Peachtree City, Ga., 199,436 shares — 5.87 percent.

Officers and members of the board of directors, according to the holding company’s website, as as follows:

• “Chairman — Charles R. Ogletree, Class I Director since 2008 and Chairman of the Board since July 2011, is the President of South-Tree Enterprises, Inc., a commercial general contracting firm located in Tyrone, Georgia. He is also the managing member of JOCO, LLC, which owns and manages multiple real estate ventures in Fayette and Coweta counties. In 2004, he founded Champion Millworks, where he remains as the managing member. … Mr. Ogletree was selected as a Class I Director and a Director of The Bank of Georgia in 2008 to fill the unexpired term of Joseph S. Black. He was elected Chairman of the Board in July of 2011, following the retirement of Enrico A.Stanziale, who had served as Chairman since the bank’s inception in 1999.”

• Co-chairman — “Jack R. Smith, Class I Director since 2008 and Co-Chairman since July 2011, is the founder of the public accounting firm, Smith, Conley & Associates, P.C. located in Fayetteville, Georgia. Mr. Smith has long been active in community affairs and [has served] as Chairman of the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. In addition, he [has served] as Treasurer of the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Joseph Sams School (a school for developmentally disadvantaged children) and the Fayetteville Rotary Club. He [has served as] Vice Chairman of the Fayette County Public Facilities Authority and … on the boards of the Griffin Technical College Foundation and other organizations. He was selected as a Class I Director and a Director of The Bank of Georgia in 2008 to fill the unexpired term of Dale K. Geeslin.”

• “Rick A. Duncan … serves as an Executive Vice-President and as the Senior Loan Officer of The Bank of Georgia. Mr. Duncan has over 35 years of banking experience in lending and credit administration, having begun his career with Citizens & Southern National Bank of Clayton County in 1978. Mr. Duncan subsequently served as Vice-President and Commercial Loan Officer with Tara State Bank in Riverdale, GA, from 1983 to 1995. He joined Fayette County Bank in Peachtree City, GA in 1995 where he served as Senior Vice-President of lending and as a director. Fayette County Bank was acquired by Regions Bank in 1998 and Mr. Duncan left Regions Bank in May, 1999 to join The Bank of Georgia. … Mr. Duncan also serves as a life member of the Board of Directors of the Fayette County Heart Association.

• “W. Robert Hancock, Jr. is a partner in the law firm of Glover & Davis, P.A. in Peachtree City, Ga., and is a partner in F&H Investment Company, a Peachtree City, GA, based real estate firm. Mr. Hancock previously served on the advisory board of First Union National Bank, and as Chairman of the City of Newnan Development Authority. … Mr. Hancock serves Georgia Bancshares, Inc. and The Bank of Georgia as a Director.”

• “Donnie H. Russell, Class II Director since our formation in 2001, has been the Owner and President of Parham Industries, Inc., a manufactured housing sales company, since 1968. Mr. Russell is also a Director and part-owner of Signal Homes, a manufactured home production company founded in 1997. He has been very active in the community banking market. He was an organizer and Director of both Fayette County Bank in Peachtree City and Commerce Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. … Mr. Russell has been a Director of The Bank of Georgia since 1999.”

• “Thomas G. Sellmer, Class III Director since our formation in 2001, has been the owner of Sellmer Property Management, a real estate management and investment company, since its formation in 1993. Mr. Sellmer is also involved in numerous real estate ventures throughout Fayette County. He was the Vice President of Southern Screen & Embroidery, Inc. prior to starting Sellmer Property Management … Mr. Sellmer has been a Director of The Bank of Georgia since 1999.”

From the company’s website: “The Bank of Georgia commenced operations on February 18, 2000 at 2008 Highway 54 West, Fayetteville, Georgia, and completed its first year of operations on December 31, 2000 with over $67 million in total assets. In addition to rapid growth, the bank was cumulatively profitable within its first fiscal year of operation. Construction of the new home office at 100 Westpark Drive in Peachtree City was completed in 2002, and currently the company operates seven full-service community banking offices located in Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone, Fairburn, Sharpsburg, and Newnan, Ga.”

According to published reports, the failed bank was heavily invested in real estate loans. It is the third Georgia bank to fail this year, the 90th since mid-2008.

Fidelity Bank assumed both insured and uninsured deposits and, therefore, all The Bank of Georgia depositor accounts will be honored.

The Bank of Georgia customers will continue to be able to conduct banking business including using their Bank of Georgia checks and ATM and debit cards. All checks will be processed as usual, and customers can continue using their Bank of Georgia checks. Customers may also use any Fidelity Bank ATM free of charge.

Chairman James B. Miller, Jr. said: “This transaction consolidates Fidelity’s position in a dynamic part of the Atlanta area and makes Fidelity Bank’s broad array of products and services, including free checking, more widely available.”

Fidelity Southern Corporation, through its operating subsidiaries Fidelity Bank and LionMark Insurance Company, provides banking, trust and wealth management services, and credit-related insurance products through branches in Georgia and Florida, and an insurance office in Atlanta, Georgia. SBA, indirect automobile, and mortgage loans are provided throughout the South. For additional information about Fidelity’s products and services, please visit the website at www.FidelitySouthern.com.