Closed bank's customers get reassurance

Morris News Service
Walter Marsh (center) and his wife, Kathryn (right), attended a meeting with FDIC representatives to learn what will happen now that their bank is closed. Mrs. Marsh said customers should have been notified before the closing.

GIBSON, Ga. --- About 300 people crowded into the Glascock County Consolidated School gymnasium Sunday to learn more about the closing of the county's only bank.

The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance closed FirstCity Bank, based in Stockbridge, and its branches at 6 p.m. Friday. The department appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver.

Representatives of the FDIC and the Banking and Finance Department were on hand Sunday to answer questions.

Anthony Griswell, the chairman of the Glascock County Board of Commissioners, said it was important for everyone to remain calm and realize that deposits up to $250,000 are insured with the FDIC.

James Neal, who said he had been a customer of the bank for 15 or 20 years, said the closing took him by surprise.

"I cashed my check Friday about 2 o'clock," he said. "Then I got a phone call Friday night. It surprised me. Everything seemed normal Friday."

He said he was not worried.

Kay and Boyd Reeves said they, too, were surprised. Mrs. Reeves said she hoped the FDIC will be able to take care of everything.

The FDIC had tried to sell the bank but could not locate a buyer, said Daniel Bell, a closing manager and receiver-in-charge with the agency.

Rickey McCullough, another FDIC representative, said 480 packages had been sent out requesting bids on the bank.

"Only five came back," he said. "Then they decided they weren't interested."

Larry Glazener, also of the FDIC, advised those who had borrowed money from the bank to continue making payments.

"Try to refinance somewhere else," he said. "If you are unable to do that, we will continue to service those loans."

First City was founded in 1905 as the Bank of Gibson. It had offices in Gibson, Stockbridge and McDonough. It had about $297 million in assets and $278 million in deposits as of Wednesday.

ANSWERS FOR CUSTOMERS

DIRECT DEPOSIT: Direct deposits from government agencies are being accepted by SunTrust Bank; direct deposits from other sources, including nongovernment payroll checks, will be returned to the issuer.

INSURED ACCOUNTS: Customers should receive checks from the FDIC for all insured accounts during the upcoming week.

PERSONAL CHECKS: Checks written by customers that had not cleared by close of business Friday will be returned. The FDIC will provide statements explaining that the bank has closed and that returned checks are not the fault of the customer.