Every Monday, at least one person (usually several) ask me what is going to be in the paper tomorrow. Is it "scoop," is it exciting?
It isn't very often that people ask me when I am going to write about a certain topic, a very specific topic. This past week has been one of those unusual weeks, and I can certainly understand why.
On Feb. 24, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a list of orders of administrative enforcement actions taken against banks and individuals in January. The FDIC issued a total of 42 orders in January which included a consent order with Statesboro-based Farmers & Merchants Bank.
According to bank president and CEO Ricky Nessmith, Farmers & Merchants Bank voluntarily agreed to enter into a consent order with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the FDIC. The order was issued as the result of an examination of the bank by the two regulatory agencies in August 2011. Under the order, the bank has agreed to strengthen its financial condition through written plans that target improvements in capital, liquidity, earnings and asset quality.
"Our management and Board of Directors had already identified the weaknesses noted in the consent order, implemented strategies for strengthening them and have seen significant improvements since the August 2011 examination," Nessmith said. "These strategies are aligned with the requirements and goals of these agreements, and the Board of Directors and management have dedicated significant resources to reaching these goals."
As many of you know, the past three years have been horrible for the Georgia banking industry, and banks in Statesboro have not been immune to the losses experienced by their counterparts across the state, as evidenced this past summer when First Southern was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Most bankers will tell you that a consent order is a big deal, because it is. They will also tell you, rightfully so, that many more banks have been able to "work out of them," and return to business as usual with adequate capitalization and bright plans for the future than have not. And, there are banks in our market that have done just that.
I asked Nessmith to comment on the position of his bank, and the positives they have been able to accomplish as they work towards meeting the demands of regulators.
"Through the first two months of 2012, we have positive earnings that are well ahead of our budgeted projections, and we are gradually building our capital levels," he said. "We believe we are weathering these times and have full confidence in the future of our local economy."
Nessmith said that FMB is going to do what is necessary to remain Statesboro's oldest community bank.
"Many borrowers in the entire Bulloch county market have encountered difficulties over the past few years, but FMB is committed to working together with its borrowers so that we all can make it through these extraordinary economic times," he said. "FMB has a strong 64 year history, and we are continuing with business in a usual fashion. We have a stable base of core deposits from this community. Our depositors will continue to be insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. No depositor has ever lost money in an FDIC-insured deposit account in the more than 80 year history of the FDIC."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org