From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Georgia banks perform well at the start of the year

The Georgia Bankers Association was excited about the first three months of 2014.

 

The association added up the financial performance for 219 state-based banks for the first quarter and it turns out it was better than 2013. The exciting part was that it was the best since 2007.

 

Remember that Georgia was a wasteland of banking in the recession with more bank closings every year than David Ortiz home runs. So when Georgia banks are doing better than before the recession, it is cause for balloons and cake.

 

The banks earned $590 million in January, February and March. That’s 17 percent higher than 2013’s first quarter.

 

David Oliver of the Georgia Bankers Association points out that performance improved in most major categories reported by the FDIC. That means assets grew, so did deposits, loans and profits. What went down (which is good in this case) is non-current loans and charge-offs for bad loans.

 

“The year started off well for our state’s banks, and that’s such good news,” said Joe Brannen, president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association. “We like that loan growth was good and there was continued improvement in credit quality. The economy is clearly better than it was a year ago, and the results are even more encouraging when you consider the chilling effect severe winter weather had on business in many areas of Georgia during the first quarter.”

 

Another trend to consider: 65 percent of the state’s banks posted better earnings and 86 percent were profitable overall.

 

TWEETED DURING THE WEEK: @Scuttlebiz if you have Twitter.

  • Wing, hibachi restaurant moving into old Wife Saver near Surrey Center. 
  • Construction bids being sought for Krispy Kreme at 3110 Peach Orchard Road. 
  • Augusta Regional Airport officials targeting Baltimore-Washington for new nonstop flight. 
  • A return to Dallas? Augusta Regional Airport working to get back flight through American Airlines. 
  • In case you didn’t notice, the Long John Silver’s is boarded up on Deans Bridge Road.

 

MORTGAGES: We discussed Georgia banks, so how about mortgage banks. Busy? Well, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly mortgage applications survey says there were fewer applications because its index went down 3 percent. Half of the mortgage activity is still refinancing.

 

The MBA is reporting interest rates of 4.26 percent for a 30-year mortgage. A 15-year is 3.39 percent.

 

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