Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted October 6, 2011 11:50 am

The biggest bank in town is still Wells Fargo, but second place is gaining

The biggest bank in Augusta is still Wells Fargo, but it continues to lose ground among its competitors, and trend that's been happening for years.
Georgia Bank & Trust continues to get bigger and claim more of the area's market share, according to data released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Wednesday. Wells has 21.1 percent of the deposits in the Augusta-Aiken area and Georgia Bank & Trust has 17.1 percent. (Add in sister financial institution Southern Bank & Trust and that cuts into the margin of difference a little more.)
Wells had a negligible decline in deposits, and both Georgia Bank and Southern Bank had growth.
The FDIC releases its snapshot of market share annually, but it only covers banks, there's no credit unions in it. Banking covers a big slice of money too. The combined money deposited in banks is $7.2 billion.
Growth was seen at First Bank of Georgia, First Citizens and Savannah River. The biggest leap was SunTrust, climbing $54 million in deposits.
A couple of banks shrank in the course of a year, including Bank of America, Regions, Fifth Third, Queensborough, Synovus and Security Federal.

CONSULTANTS, NOT MANAGERS: Charlestowne Hotels called to clarify that they are performing more of a consulting role with Rosemary Inn Bed & Breakfast and Lookaway Inn & Events Centre in North Augusta than a management role. Owners Kelly and Diana Combs are still directly manging the historic properties.
Charlestowne Hotels is only assisting with the Web site and marketing, said Michael Tall, senior vice president of the Charleston, S.C.-based hotel management firm.

I COULD HARDLY BELIEVE MY EYES: I saw a 2 as the first digit in the price of gasoline this week; $2.99 in North Augusta.

BYE STEVE: My first computer was an Apple IIc. Got many an A in high school working on that machine. Good games for the times too.

MORE MAHINDRA SETBACKS: Since the hype of 2010 that an India-based vehicle manufacturer was going to sell pickup trucks in the USA (one of the first was to be in Augusta), not a single truck has arrived. And it will take even longer for that to happen. Mahindra & Mahindra, as reported in automotive media, didn't apply to the EPA to get its 2012 model trucks certified for emissions.
Mahindra got certified to sell its 2011 models, which expires at the end of the year, but hasn't applied to do so for its 2012 models, an EPA spokesperson said.

IT'S IN THE CARDS: News comes out of Equifax about the increase in the number of bank cards being originated, along with an increase in credit limits. More cards, more credit, more opportunity to buy this holiday season.
More than 18 million new bank cards were created in the first six months of 2011, a three-year high, but nowhere near the 34 million new cards created in the pre-recession timeframe in 2007.
The increase in credit seems to be driven by the subprime cards. There was a 27 percent increase in the credit limits seen in January to June compared to the same six months in 2010. Subprime cards are the ones that go to people with credit scores under 660. Those cards jumped 64 percent compared to 2010.
Expect to see more of this, Equifax says, because delinquencies are trending downward, making it more palatable to offer more credit.